The return of the Malavan Bandar Anzali FC Women squad.
Malavan Bandar Anzali FC Women returned to the “San Sirous” after they were dissolved two and a half years ago!
Sports photographer, Maryam Majd travelled to Anazli (North of Iran) to join the Malavan Women’s Team, also known as the team of the Iranian Navy and is seen as one of the more successful teams coming from outside of Tehran.
It’s a confusing case of a soccer team, why was the Malavan Bandar Anzali FC Women squad dissolved?
The club, Malavan FC is a very old and famous one in Iran. For many years the club boasted a men’s and women’s team but two years ago after a financial discussion, the head of the club decided to dissolve the women’s team, they even deported them to another city. According to media reports, the CEO was quoted as saying, “We have many mouths to feed. When a storm-lashed ship is sinking, it starts unloading extra burdens.”
The statement and decision was belittling to the women and was widely seen as sexist.
Despite the huge setback, the ‘scrapped’ Malavan Women’s Team fought back by continuing to train together for over 2 years until the club’s president finally agreed that the women’s team would be reinstated.
This year saw the return of Malavan Bandar Anzali FC Women to the women’s soccer league, with no financial support and no new players.
Former professional footballer, Maryam Irandoost leads the Malavan women’s squad. She led the team before it was ‘banned’ in 2016, and returns as head coach. Maryam was the first young coach of Iranian International women’s football team. At that time, she was just 24 years old.
Maryam Majd was at the game to photograph their historic return to the stadium. In terms of human rights and women’s rights, it is important to highlight and promote their presence and the first return match on their own land.
The stadium, they know as “San Sirous” was named after footballing hero Sirous Ghayeghran who was supporting women’s football in Anzali. Sirous Ghayeghran was one of the most important and famous players in the Iranian men’s soccer team. The former captain of Iran national football team, is notably referred as the legendary player of Malavan Bandar Anzali Football Club and is one of the most popular icons in the city of Bandar Anzali.
On 7 April 1998, as Ghayeghran and some family members were driving towards Tehran during a holiday in Norouz, they collided with a truck, leaving Ghayeghran and his son dead. He was supporting women’s football in Anzali. The stadium was named with his name as a hero.
Anzali women’s team came back to the stadium after two and a half years of liquidation. A stadium which once again banned women from entering.
But, the Malavan Women’s Team say Hello again to San Sirous. Welcome back Malavan Bandar Anzali FC Women and welcome home.
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