Xəzər Lənkəran v. Sumqayıt Standard
Wednesday was the second football game I’ve attended here. This time there wasn’t a whole lot different from last time. But, I did note a few things while watching the game:
1) Again, our party happened to have the only females in the stadium: Jessica, a PCV in nearby Lərik, and a cousin of Eli’s host family. Last time we had two Azeri girls in our group and it was the same story.
2) This is also the second time that we managed to rock the 2-Manat seats with 1-Manat tickets. Apparently, during the first half, we’ve been sitting in the non-Azeri section. When my host brother and his friend arrived after we did, they were told that they had to wait because they hadn’t walked in with us, the foreign guests. After the first half ends, it becomes a free-for-all for seats and they fill up. That’s when Miri and his friend joined us.
3) These football games are really the only time when you see a lot of emotion from Azerbaijanis. It might be an understatement to say that Azerbaijanis are generally somber and subdued in public. Take them to a football match and suddenly they are as animated and emotional as anyone else, evidenced by the whistling and yelling and cheering that rains down from the stands onto the field.
4) There is a jumbotron in the northeast corner of the stadium. It is the most useless jumbotron I’ve ever seen. Because of the camera angles and distance of the jumbotron from the field, the view on the screen is undoubtedly the worst view in the stadium. If you’re actually in the stadium, you will gain nothing from looking at this jumbotron screen.
5) Again, one of the most entertaining moments of a match is when you look over at a full section and see the entire section move their black-coated arms up to their mouths in unison as they chew and spit a field of sunflower seeds.
The last interesting note here is that Miri’s new job at the hotel puts him in direct contact with the football teams. That’s where visiting teams stay, and it’s also where one of the Xəzər Lənkəran players lives. He’s a Brazilian, named Souza, and apparently he’s a pretty nice guy. How did a Brazilian end up playing football in Azerbaijan?