07 Dec “I want to put Palestine on the world map”
Mahmoud Eid 22 years old is the Swedish-born young man who plays in Palestine’s national team and who has taken the next step in his soccer career through a transfer from his hometown club Nykoping’s BIS to Åtvidaberg’s FF.
-It feels like a step in the right direction, says Mahmoud Eid.
As a seven-year-old Mahmoud Eid started playing soccer, at that time, only for fun. At the age of eight he started to play for the club Nykoping’s BIS and his interest for the sport grew stronger.
-I realized that I had talent and others confirmed it for me, says Mahmoud Eid.
When Mahmoud Eid was 15 years old he got recruited to a big club in Stockholm called Hammarby where he played for three years. During the same time he moved to Stockholm and enrolled at an upper secondary school that offered studies of economy combined with soccer.
-it was important for me to make sure I had a good education at the same time as I pursued my soccer dreams. You never know what the future holds, says Mahmoud Eid.
To move away from home as a 15-year-old was not always easy and diciplin was something Mahmoud Eid had to have a lot of. The days were long and to keep himself motivated he tried to surround himself with good people and travel home to the family in Nykoping during the weekends. Mahmoud Eid emphasizes the importance of having a good relationship with the coach in order to stay motivated.
-It is really important to have confidence in your coach and a club that motivates you. To have the courage to pursue your goals and be able to fail in order to succeed is crucial, says Mahmoud Eid.
In 2015 Mahmoud Eid was recruited by the Palestinian national team through one of the existing players in the national team, Imad Zatara, who is also raised in Sweden. Imad Zatara acted as the link between Mahmoud Eid and the Palestinian national team.
-I was actually contacted by the Palestinian national team through Facebook. At first I declined but reconsidered my decision, says Mahmoud Eid.
The decision to accept to play with Palestine’s national team can for many seem given but it was not an obvious decision for Mahmoud Eid. Accepting meant that he closed the doors to ever play in the Swedish national team which previously had been a big dream.
-I had to think through the pros and cons. How big are the chances for me to make it with the Swedish national team? It is difficult to make it in to the national team and they do not invest so much on young Swedish talents. I do not regret a second of my decision now, says Mahmoud Eid.
Deciding to play with the Palestinian national team is not only a step in the right direction career wise for Mahmoud Eid. It is also about taking part of his heritage and contributing to his parents’ homeland.
-For me it is one way of putting Palestine on the world map. To show the world that Palestine is not only war and bombs, there is more to it. The communion and fellowship when the national team plays is amazing to experience and make most people forget the infected conflicts in the area, says Mahmoud Eid.
Those of you who have seen Mahmoud Eid’s games with the Palestinian national team may have noticed that his t-shirt does not say Eid. He plays under the name Dahadha which is his father’s family name and the name that says on Mahmoud Eid’s Palestinian passport.
-It is the name I have to play under, says Mahmoud Eid.
When Mahmoud Eid travelled to Palestine to meet the national team for the first time it was also his first time ever in Palestine. It was not without problems though. At his first visit he got to sit in a room being interrogated over and over again for seven hours. He was questioned about his intentions on visiting Palestine. The first time Mahmoud Eid visited Palestine he did not mention that it was in purpose of playing soccer. The time after that he mentions it and has no problem at all being let into the country.
-If I as a member of the national team would have been denied to enter the country the Israeli soccer association would risk being shut off from FIFA, says Mahmoud Eid.
To always be on top and strive forward is of course not always easy. Sometimes Mahmoud Eid has been forced to sacrifice things in his life that other teenagers might have considered obvious such as late nights with friends.
-I have sacrificed a lot to get here. Even though I have been blessed with talent a lot of hard work lies behind my success, not only soccer practice but also a whole lot of disciplined physical training, says Mahmoud Eid.
Mostly it is the results that keep Mahmoud Eid wanting to continue forward.
-The nervousness before a game, the kick of adrenaline when something goes right and when I see results make me strive forward, When we are behind I immediately start thinking how we can turn the game around, says Mahmoud Eid.
Apart from playing soccer Mahmoud Eid works as a teacher assistant at a primary-school in Nykoping. He sometimes meets young girls and boys who also dream about a soccer career. The advice he offers are mostly about that they should play because it is fun.
-During that age it is important to play because it is fun. It cannot become too serious too early otherwise they will lose interest, says Mahmoud Eid.
Despite the fact that Mahmoud Eid is just in the beginning of a promising soccer career he has a plan for what he wants to do when his career as a soccer player is over.
-I want to work as an agent for professional soccer players. An agent acts as a link between the player and the club and mediates contracts. That is something I would find enjoyable and important, says Mahmoud Eid.
It is important to have an agent who is good and really cares about the player and not only the money Mahmoud Eid suggests.
-There has to be a genuine interest for the player from the agent’s side, otherwise I find it difficult see that the agent would succeed in his work, neither for the player nor for his own reputation. I have met both good and bad soccer agents, says Mahmoud Eid.
Mahmoud Eid has big dreams and ambitions and wants to be a professional and play in the big leagues in Europe. He knows that the road might not be easy and he uses visualization and mental training in order to reach his goals.
-I talk a lot to my inner self in order to motivate myself. I set up goals for every year but it is important to have sub goals as well to keep oneself motivated. When I have reached my goal I become satisfied but I do not settle. That is both positive and negative. Positive is that I always strive forward to become better, negative is that I preassure myself, says Mahmoud Eid.
Mahmoud Eid ends the interview by mentioning his role model, not entirely surprisingly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. At the same time Mahmoud Eid says that it is really important for him to stay humble which may not rhyme entirely with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
-As contradictive as it may sound, Zlatan has all the right not to be humble, says Mahmoud Eid with a smile.
Dalila Megdiche Mouaid