Discrimination is starving budding Ahwazi Arab footballers of sponsorship and equipment, according to local coaches.
Rasoul Sayahi, the coach of the Jenobeh-Azadegan football team in the Arab populated town of Sosangerd (Khafajiyeh), told Farsnews: “Our players do not have a soccer shoes to play with. We managed to be within the first four teams in province's league division one without having support and managed to qualify for the provincial championship.”
However, Sayahi is unhappy with the lack of sponsor for the football club based in the Dashteh-Azadegan district. The poor financial situation could prompt them to withdraw from the championship.
He added: “Sometimes before the game the players have to eat Samboseh and Falafel [the cheapest take away in Al-Ahwaz], however the oil industry in the Dashteh-Azadegan area sponsors the Tehran Naft football team."
An Ahwazi footballer told Ahwaz News Agency: "Ahwazi teams are the best in Iran and are known for their 'Brazilian style'. Before the Revolution, most of the Iranian national team was Ahwazi Arab. Historically, when the British were residing in Abadan and Ahwaz they taught football to the Ahwazi Arabs. Nowadays even the local teams are excluding Arabs from their teams and facilities. We all know how non-Arabs get their children in the best teams and nominated for national teams."