In my school days — when children were forced to play sports — it was compulsory for each class to form a football team and buy a shirt to represent it.
The war of who’s-going-to-wear-what would start at the end of each year, with senior classes choosing famous teams shirts and leaving the rest for the juniors.
I remember my classmates wearing Germany shirt for a short while before switching to England’s that stayed with us up to high school.
Our fascination with the World Cup started round that time in 1994, when I was 15 and my brother 13.
I remember watching the games broadcasted from the US on TV.
I also remember the memorabilia that we bought with Striker, the dog mascot of that cup.
Growing up among cousins, each of us chose a country to support.
I chose Germany, my brother Brazil, my cousin Argentina (she had a crush on Maradona) and her brother Italy.
The winner of that year was Brazil.
That was when my brother lured me to support his team for the following years.
He even bought us the team’s official shirts (both yellow and the blue) to wear while watching the games.
The shirts were made of polyester that made me itch throughout the games.
Nevertheless, I bore the torture for the sake of showing support! Watching the games together was one of the activities that we enjoyed doing.
Even when we were separated in 2002 due to my studies abroad.
The game was played in Japan and Korea.
Due to time difference between England and Japan, I missed almost half of the games.
Yet I managed to watch Brazil vs England game.
I remember waking up at 6 am to catch the game an hour later in the university’s square.
I was the only Brazilian fan surrounded by hundreds of English supporters.
I kept a poker face throughout the game and barely contained myself when the game ended with Brazil winning.
I rushed to the public phone and called my brother to discuss the game in depth.
Then I passed by my project supervisor’s office to gloat openly and bought the newspaper that had the picture of Roberto Carlos and David Beckham embracing at the end of the game.
In the following World Cups, we were disappointed by Brazil’s waning performance.
My brother switched to supporting Japan while I supported all the teams that didn’t have the chance to win.
I still have hope that the cup would end up this time in the hands of new champions! In this year’s World Cup, my brother wasn’t keen on getting the subscription for Bein sports.
We watched a few games separately but then we decided to watch the games together just like the old days! We started with the Nigeria Vs Argentina game that we watched in the tent outside of the Avenues mall.
The place is nicely set as a stadium, with the screen in front and the seats on ascending rows.
On that day, it was filled with Messi’s fans who came to watch this game and the following one too (Argentina-France).
The number of the viewers dwindled by the time for the Spain-Russia game, we were barely 20 which was pretty surprising given the fact that Omanis are supporters of different Spanish football clubs.
The Brazil-Mexico game was busy and like everyone else, I was supporting Brazil.
Neymar’s feigning injury started getting on my nerves as he wasn’t even convincing.
My brother seemed to be the only one supporting Mexico and he wasn’t really happy by the end of the game!
The author is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja.
Rasha al Raisi