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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Iranian teams can count on this ‘super fan’ for support

Mohammed Mirza Zareinejad is up in the stands cheering on his country whenever they play in Qatar.
Mohammed Mirza Zareinejad
Mohammed Mirza Zareinejad cheers Iran during the Asian Olympic Qualifying Handball Tournament in Doha. IQ Photo

The Iranian handball team may have failed to make it to the semifinal of the Asian Olympic Handball Qualification tournament which is underway in Doha, but will take solace from one thing – the undying support of their fan¬ Mohammed Mirza Zareinejad.

The 59-year-old was a regular at the Al Duhail Indoor Hall last week. Clad in a shirt cut out from the Iranian flag, sporting a cap studded with hundreds of commemorative pins from various sports events in Qatar, waving a green banner and blaring a portable air horn he cheered his team on from the stands.

The ‘super fan’, who came to Qatar from Iran with his parents as an 11-year-old in 1972, has been attending all matches that featured his country since 1988.

“The first major football tournament I watched was the 1988 AFC Asian Cup, where Iran finished third. But it was the 2006 Doha Asian Games which inspired me to start following Iranian sides in Qatar actively. I haven’t broken that routine since then,” he told Inside Qatar.

Zareinejad has three daughters and a son and is the only one in the family who is an ardent sports fan. Wearing it as a badge of honour, he recalled his most memorable moment.

The Iran Team In Action At The Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament
The Iran team in action at the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Doha. Photo: QHA Twitter

“During the Doha Asiad, Iran’s Hossein Rezazadeh won the weightlifting gold (105kg+ category). Though I was watching a football match, I left at half time to see him compete at the Al Dana Club. He obliged me with a picture. That was my best-ever fan moment,” he said.
The Iranian fan’s obsession with collecting commemorative pins began the same year. In addition to the cap he wears, he has a bigger hat and a jacket also studded with pins. He has now set his sights higher.

“Some athletes gave me their country’s pins during the Doha Asiad, and that’s how it all began. My aim is to fill up a full-length trouser with pins and wear it for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, which will be an amazing competition,” he said.

Zareinejad, who used to assist his father Mirza at his clothing store in Souq Waqif, later switched to used-car business. He boasts of a wide range of friends in the Iranian sports community.

“I personally know most of the players in Iran’s football, handball, basketball and volleyball teams. Whenever they come to Qatar, I visit them at their hotels. It’s something I enjoy doing and they reciprocate the love,” he said.

Does his family support his eccentric ways?

“My daughters like football and sometimes come to games with me. But my wife says I’m too old for this. So I always act as if I can’t hear her,” he said with a loud guffaw.