Sweden is a country that has been a favorite for immigrant Iranians. Despite the unforgivable weather and the cold climate, many Iranians have settled well in Sweden a country that has given refuge to thousands of people around the world and given them the opportunity to prosper and live a respectable life. Many Iranians excelled and integrated well in the society forming a highly honorable and respectable community.
The Iranians are the biggest minorities in Sweden with a number approaching 64,000. Many have been born in Sweden either from Iranian parentage or by intermixed marriages. Amongst this population, a community of football fans has established itself which despite the distance from the homeland, have created a sizable and strong support for Team Melli. Many fans from Sweden travelled to watch Team Melli in France and Germany for the world cups.
The match against Sweden is the first real opportunity for Team Melli fans in Sweden to show their strength and resolve. Although the match might not be a sellout, the indications are that it will be near capacity. The Iranian football fans and Team Melli supporters in particular, are world renowned for their passion and vociferous support wherever the match is played. Sweden is a dream land for Team Melli fans.
Sweden Men’s National Football Team will meet Iran in the Friendly Arena on 31 March. To put the supporters in the mood and emphasize the importance of support from the stands, the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) implemented facebook contest Hemmaplan! where the winners get involved on an alternative match poster with fans of both teams and of course also win tickets to match.
The weeks leading up to the match, The SvFF published interviews with the winners. First off is Dorna Montzemian.
What is your name?
– Dorna Montazemian.
How old are you?
– 28 years
Which team is your team?
– Wow, teasers, already? Hahahaha!
Very easy question to answer. It is actually Sweden when the Swedish national team is playing, it is very close to my heart, but obviously the heart beats slightly stronger for the Iranian national team, Team Melli, representing my country Iran!
What is your first football memory?
– I have many fond memories to share, but by far the biggest and among the first most memorable football memories I have are from the 1998 World Cup, when Iran made it to the World Cup for the second time and most important was the match that Iran had to play against the United States.
What a game that was, still, when I think back to that day’s emotions, I still can feel how the Iranian people in Iran and around the world celebrated the 2-1 victory over the United States. First goal was scored by Hamid Estili, which he headed the ball straight into the net, and then Mehdi Mahdavikia secured the win with the second goal in 84th minutes. All of a sudden it became 2-1 and everything stood still in the final minutes of the match remaining. Then the referee blows the final whistle, BÄÄÄÄM, Iran registers its first and historic win ever in a World Cup contest! Unforgettable!
What is your best memory as a supporter?
– First and foremost, this experience that is assigned to me. Then my expectations and wait for the absolute best memory which will be created on March 31 at the Friends Arena, where both parts of my heart will face each other! It will be absolutely legendary!
What does being a supporter means for you?
– To be loyal to the team you follow and to watch football as a sport filled with passion, a sport with huge driving forces which will create strength and courage together , like creating superstars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
What is so special in the game between Sweden and Iran?
– Experiencing Iran’s first football match against Sweden in Sweden, is a great and historical moment! The last time Iran played against a Scandinavian team was against Denmark back in 1999.
On March 31, I along with several thousand people will attend a festivity that is very special and highly appreciated. The ability to go to the match and enjoy the 90+ minute live play and experience the wonderful atmosphere of a soccer stadium, it’s something to look forward to and cherish!
What is the feeling before the game?
– I’ll summarize my card with some words that together will say everything.
Unbelievable! Joy! And huge desire!
Excitement, nervousness, intermixed with pride and happiness.
Do you think the competition you have participated in has been good? Why has it been good or bad?
– Yes, I think everything has been good, for sure. All we have are six people who were fortunate enough to win this competition. We had great fun together; laughed a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed competing.
How do think the game will end?
– We must wait and see, personally, I like surprises. Whatever the outcome, all players regardless of the winner team, are dear to my heart as a true supporter!