A few of us went to the Melbourne airport to welcome our national team. There were already a couple of hundred others there waiting to greet the team. There was even a molla present. I have no idea “from under which stone he had crept out.” Because, as far as I know, there are no mollas in Melbourne (you call it heaven :-).
There were a very few with Khomeini and Khamenei pictures, who seemed to be there just to hold up the pictures in front of the cameras. They didn't seem to be interested in the players one bit. Someone pointed out those who were known to be mojAheds, and some monarchists.
Amazing how soccer is getting all these people together in a friendly manner to achieve a single goal – to welcome the team. The team seems to be the celebrity of the moment with all those present. Maybe there is hidden message here!
It took the players just under an hour after landing to step out. They were all there: Daei, Azizi, Abedzadeh. We cheered them all. Every one of them had smiles on their lips and were quite impressed to get such a reception. For Abedzadeh, however, he got more than just smiles on his lips. He also had some lipstick impressions on his cheeks, which he didn't seem to mind.
Azizi did what he is good at and sneaked through everyone and found his way to the bus and kept on smiling and waving to us. When everyone cheered “bachehA mA gol mikhAym,” he gestured how many, and he got all sorts of replies. A lady screamed five. He grabbed the flowers given to him and showed her five flowers! The bus windows here don't open; he tried to find a way to give the flowers to the lady.
Daie is quiet tall for an Iranian. He is probably 6'4″. I was told he was an engineer by education and is from Ardabil. Daie, Azizi and Abedzadeh responded well to the cheers. They seemed to be more accustomed to the celebrity status. The others pretty much shied away.
I've never seen Bagheri, so I can't say if he was there or not. They said one more will come directly from Germany. That might be Bagheri. I didn't see the new coach either. There were very few non-players in suites. All of them fit in one bus, about 20 of them.
I think we did the trick and showed them they were welcome here. They all were quite amused and smiling to say the least.
Today, is one of the hottest days in Melbounre for November for many year. The weather forecast is 40 degrees Celsius. The good news is that a cool change later in the day is going to drop the temperature to the mid-20s. The rest of the week will be in low 20s and a chance for a few showers.
The Iranian Football Federation has allowed the team to stay in Melbourne for an extra two days if they win. There is a BBQ organized for one of the two days.
The local press has been reporting that the Iranian government has promised the players, a house, a car and 100,000 (tomans) for each player, if they win. I have heard that Adebdzadeh will play for a Greek club next year for $1.2 million.
I also learnt a new rhyme, “khodA dAdeh azizi, ajab gole tamizi”. He loves it.