Tag Archives: soccer

Andranik Teymourian – first Christian to lead Iran’s football team as its permanent captain

The 32-year-old midfielder, known as Ando – or Samurai, due to his hairstyle – is not shy of showing his Christianity, often crossing himself on the field. In April 2015, Teymourian, who has played for Bolton Wanderers and Fulham, became the first Christian to lead Iran’s football team as its permanent captain. His first appearance as captain of the national team was however on 18 May 2014, when Teymourian captained Iran in the match against Belarus. In the same year he was named “Iranian footballer of the year”.

“I’m happy that as a Christian I play in a Muslim team,” he said in a recent interview. “I have Armenian roots but I hold the Iranian passport and I’m proud of that, I hold my flag high. I hope I can enhance the good reputation of Armenian people in Iran.”

Iran's midfielder Andranik Teymourian gestures during the friendly football match Iran vs Belarus in preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2014 on May 18, 2014 in Kapfenberg, Austria. AFP PHOTO / SAMUEL KUBANI (Photo credit should read SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ethnic Armenians make up the majority of Iran’s estimated 300,000 Christians. Armenians are fully integrated in Iranian society, from the musician Loris Tjeknavorian to Sombat Hacoupian, who founded one of the country’s most famous men’s clothing brands and is now a household name.

Although Islam is Iran’s official religion, it recognises Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians as accepted religious minorities. They are permitted their house of worship and usual religious services, and have reserved seats in the Iranian parliament. In a country where alcohol and pigmeat are forbidden, Christians are allowed to distil booze and eat pork.

There are at least 600 churches in Iran, including the sixth-century St Mary Church of Tabriz, mentioned by Marco Polo in his travel book. The adjacent province of West Azerbaijan boasts the ancient St Thaddeus Monastery, a Unesco world heritage site.

All minorities related posts on this blog: The other Iran | Minorities (with lots of interesting photos)

Read more: The Guardian , wikipedia | Andranik Teymourian

Iran wins Friendly against Chile 2:0

Copa America hosts Chile (World Ranking: 42) saw their preparations for the competition hit a bump on Thursday as they were beaten 2-0 by Iran (World Ranking: 15) at St Polten’s NV Arena in Austria.

Sources: FIFA | Chile, FIFA | Iran, Goal.com | Game Stats, Goal.com | Game Report

Photo gallery: Iranian football fans at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia

The 2015 Asian Cup started on January 9th and ends on January 31st. Iran reached the quarterfinals but lost to Iraq on penalties in a nerve-wrecking match.

As a goodbye to this year’s Asian Cup a compilation of photos of Iranian fans:

Sources: mostafagraphy.tumblr.com, Iran beat Bahrain in 2015 Asian Cup opener – in pictures, Asian Cup – The fans of Iran, Bing Image Search

Vahid Shamsaei: Futsal’s top international goalscorer of all time

Vahid Shamsaei (born 21 September 1975 in Tehran, Iran) is an Iranian futsal player who is futsal’s top international goalscorer of all time. […] He is the leading goalscorer for the national team, the seven time Top Goalscorer of the Asian Futsal Championship.

On May 19, 2007 after scoring 1 goal against Japan in Iran’s 4–1 victory in the final of the 2007 AFC Futsal Championship, he scored his 316th national goal. He was officially the world’s Top Futsal Goalscorer with 14 goals ahead of Manoel Tobias of Brazil national futsal team, the previous holder of the title with 302 goals (as of May 19, 2007). […]

HONOURS

Country
* AFC Futsal Championship:
– Champion (8 times) in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008
– Third place (twice) in 2006 and 2012
* Asian Indoor Games: Champion in 2005
* Confederations Futsal Cup: Champion in 2009
* WAFF Futsal Championship: Champion in 2012

Club
* AFC Futsal Club Championship: Champion (twice) in 2010 with Foolad Mahan and in 2015 with Tasisat Daryaei

Individual
* Best player
– AFC Futsal Player of the Year (3 times) in 2007, 2008 and 2015
– MVP AFC Futsal Championship (5 times) in 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2008
– MVP AFC Futsal Club Championship (twice) in 2010 and 2015
– MVP Futsal Confederations Cup in 2009
Iran Football Federation Awards:
– International Special Award (2007–08) shared with Ali Daei
– Best futsal player of Iran (2007–08)

* Top Goalscorer
– World’s Top Futsal Goalscorer of All Time (with 390 goals)
– AFC Futsal Championship Top Goalscorer of All Time (with 183 goals)
– AFC Futsal Championship (8 times) in 2001 (with 31 goals), 2002 (26), 2003 (24), 2004 (33),  2005 (23), 2006 (16), 2008 (13) and in 2012 (with 7 goals and 6 assists)
– Asian Indoor Games  2005 (31)
– AFC Futsal Club Championship (twice) in 2010 (17) and in 2015 (10)
– WAFF Futsal Championship in 2012 (8 goals)

Ref: wikipedia.org

Ararat Armenian Sports Club and it’s stars

The Vanak neighborhood of central Tehran is home to a high concentration of Armenians; half of the approximately 80,000 Armenians in Iran live in Tehran, and most of those Tehrani Armenians live within Vanak and its orbit. […]

The Ararat Armenian Sports Club predates the Revolution and predates Reza Shah Pahlavi. […] The Sports Club is home to FC Ararat Tehran, a borderline-defunct soccer club that produced two heroes of Iranians, Armenians, and of course Armenian-Iranians. Andranik Eskandarian played for two years at Ararat before moving onto Taj (now Esteghlal due to yet another Revolution-necessitated makeover) as a stalwart defender. His national teams won the 1968, ‘72, and ‘76 and went to the country’s first World Cup in 1978. Andranik would later move to the United States to play for a legendary New York Cosmos side. A generation later, Andranik Teymourian would play youth ball for Ararat before moving on to Bolton in the English Premier League.

Teymourian collapes after Iran’s game against AngolaOne of the most iconic images from the 2006 World Cup

Someone like Teymourian can be a hero for Iranians of all religions without a hint of conflict.

The situation of Armenians (and other Christians) in Iran is of course far more normal than prevailing Western discourse may have an outside observer understand. Armenians have different treatment from most Iranians, with special privileges to consume pork, alcohol, and having Sundays off work that Muslims do not enjoy. But they are still effusively Iranian. Surp Khatch, for example, was built in part to memorialize the thousands of Armenian service members killed in the Iran-Iraq War. When Teymourian crosses himself before a match, his countrymen cheer this act as the mark of a pious Iranian. […]

Unfortunately, these days Ararat FC is far from its glory days. The team last competed in Iran’s top league in the 1995-1996 season.

Source: Ajam Media Collective (ajammc.com)

Iranian players handed white roses (a symbol of peace in Iran) to the US players prior to soccer match

All must read USA – Iran posts: The other Iran | Tag | USA

The game was an exceptionally fair game and both teams received the 1998 World Cup FIFA Fair Play Award “for the two countries’ good sportsmanship surrounding the World Cup match between their teams, despite their mutual political tensions for nearly 20 years.”

Below more photos from the match and the episode “Breaking Barriers: USA vs. Iran, 1998” from Fox Sports’ “Rise as One Series”:

Christian football (soccer) players of Iran

Iran has had a history of integrating members of it’s Christian minority in the national football team. Just to focus on the better known names this small selection should be put forward:

Andranik EskandarianAndranik Eskandarian was born on December 31, 1951 in Tehran in an Armenian family. He became a United States citizen in 1984. Eskandarian was a member of the Iranian team winning the Asia Cup 1976 in Tehran and reaching the quarterfinals of the Olympic Tournament in Montreal in 1976. He also played for Iran in the 1978 World Cup. Ref: wikipedia.org

edbEdmond Bezik (born 12 August 1975 in Tehran, Iran) is a retired Armenian-Iranian footballer and coach. He played for Persepolis, Sepahan and Ararat Tehran and was a member of Iran national football team. Having scored 22 goals for Ararat, 32 goals for Persepolis and 30 goals for Sepahan, he scored a total number of 84 goals during his time in Iran’s top division football league, becoming the top division’s all-time top goalscorer. Ref: wikipedia.org

Andranik TeymourianAndranik Timotian-Samarani, born March 6, 1983 is an Iranian-Armenian footballer, more commonly known as Andranik “Ando” Teymourian. […] He played his first match for Iran in 2005, and has featured in Iran’s national squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 and 2011 Asian Cups. He has played a total of 74 international matches, scoring 8 times. Ref: wikipedia.org