There was always something about Middle Eastern football and wasting time that used to fascinate me. It was the way in which a goalkeeper would make a big deal out of an ordinary dead ball situation. He would make sure that he holds on to the ball and then immediately dive to the ground, making it seem like he had done the spectacular.
So did it seem, as we witnessed that action in one form or the other, time and time again.
But as the concept of time wasting hit the conscious, it all made sense.
It was nothing but to take off a few seconds from the clock.
UAE footballers have always had a knack for doing the unthinkable. It was quite evident when the late UAE international Theyab Awana scored a back-heel penalty in a friendly international rout of Lebanon, a year ago.
One would expect the in-field players to come up with such schemes, but Ali Kasheif, a goal keeper from Al Jazira Club based in Abu Dhabi, topped it all. Described potentially as one of the best keepers in the country, he came up with something that is quite novel, quite ingenious.
In an Asian Champions League game against Iranian side – Esteghlal, he basically managed to untie the laces from his right shoe as he pretended to place the ball in order to take a goal kick. All this went unnoticed by the media during the time.
While watching the game, I could never have imagined such an incident to occur during the period of time, in which he takes the ball, places it on the ground and gets ready for the goal kick.
He then signals the referee motioning with his right leg, telling him that his laces are untied. He jogs over to the defender Abdullah Mousa and gets his laces tied up. All the while, displeasing the opposition and the crowd in the Azadi stadium.
And the game carried on. Close to a minute was wasted during this time.
However, someone in Iran studied the incident and was not happy, hence decided to post this video on YouTube. It clearly demonstrates where Ali Kasheif had intentionally untied his laces in an attempt to waste some time.
Al Jazira managed to beat Esteghlal by a score of 2 – 1. The importance of the game stands at the fact that this win was the first time ever by any UAE based team against Iran in Iranian soil.
For a staunch Iranian supporter this would not be acceptable considering the political tension that exists between the two countries. Any sort of dominance from either of the country is a matter of significance here.
Ali Kasheif’s brief act during the game would be considered as unfair and would not entitle him to winning the FIFA fair play award, but it definitely was entertaining from a purely sneering creative perspective.
A toast to Ali Kasheif and his cynical brilliance.