Ahwaz: Ahwazi Kicked Out of Iranian Football Team
Ahwazi Arab Hossein Ka'abi was one of four footballers expelled from the Iranian national side today [23 June 2009] after staging an on-pitch protest against the presidential election results during a match last week [June 2009] against South Korea.
During the match held in Seoul, supporters of the Iranian team showed their support for the demonstrations in Iran by staging a protest outside the stadium. They unfurled a banner that read "Go To Hell Dictator," and chanted "Compatriots, we will be with you to the end with the same heart." During the match, protesters waved the banner, held up green paper signs reading "Where is my vote?" and waved Iran's national flags emblazed with the plea "Free Iran."
Ka'abi is one of Iran's most talented footballers, known for his aggressive style which has helped the Iranian side win at an international level. His passport has now been confiscated. There are concerns that he and the other footballers who participated in the protest will be imprisoned.
Ka'abi is believed to be a descendent of Sheikh Khaza'al, the powerful Arab sheikh of Mohammareh who ruled much of what is now the province of Khuzestan. Khaza'al was deposed by Reza Khan in 1925.