The first international break of 2019/2020 is already behind us, and this one was full of stories.
Yet, one national team, from a war-torn country, had produced a shocking result and one of the most beautiful goals in recent years in world football. Yemen.
That goal by Mohsen Hasan marked an impressive international break for Yemen. Two draws, four goals and the third place in Asian Qualifiers Group D.
The Yemenite national team is somehow functioning under impossible conditions in recent years, due to the ongoing horrific civil war that is taking place in the country. Refugees, famine and casualties are a daily routine in a reality that is ruled by two battling sides, backed, allegedly, by Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Yemen doesn’t have an organised football league going on for almost three years now. The players are not practicing together often, and until recently they didn't have a coach after the Slovak Jan Kocian's departure.
Yet, in 2019 they managed to qualify for their first-ever Asian Cup and even to score their debut goal in the competition, which was their first goal in an official match since 2015. On Tuesday night, they managed to draw with regional giants Saudi Arabia, who's guided by the highly reputed coach Herve Renard, 2-2.
Imagine it. A team from a disputed country playing against one of the main responsible for its situation, who's a much stronger, prosperous and experienced team. In Yemen, people see hungry and dying kids on a daily basis. They confront horrific stories of rape and abuse. Basically, they are in a state of war that currently seems endless. A goal, in this case, is just a small moment of joy.
It is important to note that this Yemen team is from the part that is backed by Saudi Arabia. And still, there is something about this result, and this goal, that produces this unique closure. Because of the people, the team and the story.
Unfortunately, it won't get the attention it deserves. Most of the football fans haven't seen this goal, nor familiar with Yemen' story. Moreover, they think the international break is 'boring' and are waiting for the Premier League to come back.
That's a shame, because this goal, and the story behind it,is probably the most emotional and beautiful they'll see in 2019.
*Photo courtesy: The-AFC.Com