Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Just like watching Brazil

General amusement and some decent football when Brazil visit the UAE.

Last week I went to see Brazil versus Iran in a friendly at Zayed Sporty City Stadium. The game had been quickly arranged, with it being announced only a week or so before the actual match. As soon as I found out I had to get some tickets because I haven't seen Brazil before and it was the only chance of watching some decent football out here.

This being the UAE there was plenty of talking points around the match, with everything done with an Abu Dhabi twist. The first thing that amused me was an advert placed in the newspaper the day of the match. It didn't advertise the match, but instead told you how to behave in the stadium. It told you that you couldn't bring things like weapons and drugs. Fair enough. But it also went on to say no pets and no magazines. I didn't realise there was an epidemic of well read hooligans walking their dogs during football matches.

My two favourite quotes from the advert were "Sport is fun and there is always a winner and a loser. Today's loser may be tomorrow's winner" - very cheesy. The best quote was "Winners have to express their joy calmly and without causing traffic jams" - you can just picture gridlock with people hanging out of their car windows and ditching their cars in the middle of the road to have a little dance.

At the stadium the ticket check was conducted at the bridge from the car park to the stadium, rather than at the individual gates. This meant there was a massive crush of people on the bridge. The soldiers doing the ticket check didn't seem too bothered by this and checked about one ticket every minute. By this point I was squashed against a fence that wasn't supporting any weight and I was getting a little worried I'd fall and get crushed.

The soldiers then noticed women in the crowd. This being a Muslim country, an extra special effort was made to separate the women and make them feel comfortable. The soldiers insisted the women come to the front, through the massive crush of people. The soldiers wouldn't let anyone pass until the women were through. So we had to wait as two or three random women squeezed through the masses.

Eventually I got through and survived the wholly probable stampede!

The match itself was fairly predictable, a 3-0 win for Brazil. Iran were involved in the game, even at 1-0 down, until the last 20 minutes when Brazil's superior fitness showed and they managed to add to score. I managed to catch the first goal on video and here it is!


1 comment:

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living in the United Arab Emirates