Everybody who said they would go pulled out. Everybody who talked the talk were more than a little afraid to walk the walk. Just a couple of weeks after September 11, 2001, only a month into my sojourn in Jeddah, the predominantly Shia Muslim state of Iran were playing the overwhelmingly Sunni state of Saudi Arabia. It was one of THE most anticipated matches in Asian football with the two battling it out for a place in the World Cup 2002.
I pulled every string I could to get a ticket, finally being handed one by a prince I taught to join the Saudi supporters in the battle of Jeddah. It went wrong, sort of, after that.
I went alone to the game, my colleagues fearful of reprisals ...Read More