These were some of Nasser Hejazi's last words before he passed away on Monday after his final battle with lung cancer. Nasser Hejazi was Iran's legendary goal keeper in the 70s and Iran's first goal keeper to play in a World Cup. Twice, he was part of Iran's national team which won the Asian cup in 1972 and 1976. He has a total of 63 caps to his name playing for Iran's national soccer team. His last game was in 1981, when the Islamic Republic came up with a ludicrous plan to retire the football players who played in the national team before the 1979 revolution. According to this plan that became known as the '27 year olds plan', players over the age of 27 could no longer play for the national team. Hence Hejazi had to retire at the age of 33, a goal keeper's prime.
Hejazi was also a successful coach and won the best Asian football coach award in 1998. In 2005, he tried to run for president but was disqualified by the Guardian Council. Most of all however he will be remembered because of his goal keeping and that he stood by the people of Iran against the injustices of this regime. He was a proud man, when he was first hospitalised, the regime made out to have helped Hejazi with his medical bills but he denied this and said I will not take a penny from them, I will sell the carpets in my house if I have to and recited this poetry verse:
"I am that proud petal who will go without water
But I will not lower myself to beg for a drop of dew"
In his very last interview, he quoted Gandhi and said "My pain is not loneliness but it’s the death of a nation who considers poverty as contentment, incompetency as patience, and with a smile on lips, consider this naivety as destiny.”
Today, thousands will take part in his funeral and millions of Iranians will mourn the nation's legendary goal keeper who never abandoned them.
Read Alex Ferguson's letter to Hejazi here:http://goalkeepermagazine.com/tag/alex-ferguson/