Gulf Final

It was a tough match. Both teams had everything to lose. Both teams never came within arms length of the cup (although it’s Oman’s second time to make it to the finals). But as all finals; only one team would go home victors; only one nation would have its streets filed with crazed, patriotic fans racing and skidding and performing dangerous stunts; only one nation’s citizens would be dancing local dances and partying all night; and the other team would walk back to the lockers, all teary and depressed, feigning smiles as they shake hands with their opponents to show good sportsmanship.

But screw sportsmanship. Although Gulf finals are rarely decent, some in the Emarati team sure displayed poor sportsmanship in their desperate attemp to take home the title and impress their leader who was watching from the VIP stand, obviously ready with thousands of Dirhams to pay the sole scorer and UAE goalkeeper for their job and the rest of the team.

I rarely watch soccer matches and cups between Gulf nations but this time my boys from UAE convinced me to watch the game with them. I’m not saying the only goal scored for the UAE team was not fair; no, it was perfectly fair and well earned.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms about the UAE team, although there were instances in which they resorted to rugby and wrestling moves. It’s the referee who got on my nerves. Among the many instances was once when a UAE player purposely hit the ball with his hands while in the penalty box, which would in normal cases result in a penalty kick for the opposing team, but the referee never called it. Minute after minute I’d be more certain that he was not giving Omani players fouls they deserved and the UAE players the red cards they very well earned. Foul after foul I’d be more sure of my theory that he had a bank account somewhere with hundreds of thousands of Dirhams, perhaps even millions, flowing through it as the seconds ticked.

Even my Emarati friends who were watching the game with me agreed with me on how the referee was siding with UAE.

They say the English are the worst hooligans when it comes to soccer and cheering for their teams, but I’d say that a few hooligans cheering for the Emarati team have been doing a good job of giving their countrymen a bad image. Omani friends of mine have been telling me about how cars with Omani license plates have been thrashed at games. It seems that some Emaratis have seen it as ok to scratch and break the glasses of cars displaying Omani tags. Even worse was how officials have tried to coax the owners of the damaged cars into keeping it on the low in exchange for compensation. The sad thing is, most Emaratis are nice, law abiding citizens who have to put up with the handful of misfits who give them a bad name. Even worse, it’s the negative aspects of an event which leave an everlasting impression on those watching from the sidelines.

ps. To you Emaratis reading this, you know I’m right so think before storming the comments section with your violent outcries. To you Omanis, had there been an unbiased referee, I’m sure you’d have taken the cup.

  1. January 31, 2007 at 2:34 PM

    Hey Sam, well i wont say that oman had to get the cup but i sure agree that the referee was biased!! I think he was bribed!! Thatz unfair. Whats the point of this whole khaleeji?? having a real game, having the game spirit. I dont really care if we won or lost but im annoyed at the fact that the referees were biased. The unfairness bugs me big time!!

  2. Al-Naimi
    February 1, 2007 at 1:23 AM

    I agree the referee was obviously biased in the way he was overseeing the match and that led our team to miss potential opportunities. Thats the problem with khaleeji games the way some pay money to have their way.

  3. Ibrahim
    February 1, 2007 at 3:14 AM

    This cup pissed me off like no other before. I cant believe the referee would plainly side with the emiratis like that. Year after year it looks like the gulf cup is becoming less like a football game and more like a rugby game with the referee clearly aiding one team.

  4. Sous
    February 1, 2007 at 6:34 AM

    my friend’s car was vandalized during one of the matches and he ended up paying for a shattered glass. he was lucky they only broke one window but some had their cars rammed into or tires punctured as i heard. not all uae people are bad and its only a few but as in every society there are a few that ruin the overall image. i agrtee the refere looked like he was on uae’s side and some of his calls can be questioned but i hope future gulf cups will be more peaceful.

  5. Alia
    February 1, 2007 at 2:12 PM

    it was a tense match no doubt and its obvious many actions by the players and the referee can be questioned but isn’t this the way it always is with the gulf cups? the emiratis are not the only ones with hooligans vandalizing other people’s property but the rest of the arab countries have their own share of those people as well. however the referee’s conduct wasn’t right and at times it looked like he was pro emirati.

  6. McShillin
    February 5, 2007 at 11:28 PM

    salaan sam,Actions have reactions, don’t be quick to judge. i do undarstand why emiratis fanns do the bad things they do,i know is wrong,we miss 17 gulf cup man! you see me and the fellas have been waiting for this shit solong But some find happiness while others find sorrow. this is the 18th GULF cup ,and for emiratis is the frist and most of arab gulf countries Don’t want to see emiratis on top , so they adapt to change Fame.And what’s here today, maybe gone tomorrow.
    sam Let me explain man more than 36 years arab gulf countries doing this shitt! saudi not take the blame
    Play it for keeps, emiratis came to win and still its hard to stop ‘ismail madar’.lol

  7. Samer
    February 6, 2007 at 2:18 AM

    It didnt surprise me when all that happened because it is nothing new in gulf matches. but some of the diehard uae fans went too far when they thrashed omani cars at games and that wont do their country any good. lets hope the next cup is better than this one

  8. Haytham
    February 6, 2007 at 6:46 AM

    hey sam i was reading some comments on another sit when i stumbled upon your blog. I’m Emarati myself and agree 100% percent on what you had to say about the final match of the gulf cup. no matter how hard people have tried before, wiping out bribery from these tournaments isn’t easy since everyone wants their team to win and take all glory. what made me sad were the reports of our own youth vandalizing other people’s cars and that doesnt speak well for us as a nation. i just hope the next gulf cup goes smoother and with less cheating than this recent one.

  9. Sam
    February 6, 2007 at 7:05 AM

    Suad: The unfairness of it all is what annoyed me so much too. I’m with the belief that had the referee not been so biased, the Omanis might have been able to do something. As long as there are overly patriotic Arabs, bribery will remain an option on the tables.

    Al-Naimi: You’re right; and I wonder why those overseeing these tournaments aren’t doing anything about it.

    Ibrahim: Money talks…I guess. You’re not the only one fuming over what happened in that game.

    Sous: Your friend was lucky indeed; my friends told me about Omani cars that were rammed by bigger cars and trucks. The referee sure didn’t make an effort to look less biased either.

    McShillin: w/salaam bro. I’m not judging, just expressing my views on what happened. I agree the UAE people worked hard for reaching the finals but still, improvements could have been made. You’re right…who could stop Ismail Matar? Btw…are you two related?

    Samer: It didn’t come as a surprise to me too, but each gulf cup I begin watching with the hope that things have improved, only to have my hopes, and those of millions shattered.

    Haytham: Welcome to my blog bro. The youth who did all that didn’t come to watch games but to start trouble. It’s sad that when many victims go home, along with them will go the memories of what they’ve been through.

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