Samstag, 26. April 2014

Chinese Taipei

Yaki Yan (Club Deportivo El Cotillo / Spain)
Chinese Taipei 2014
This shirt is very special to me. The reason is not that is one of the last heavy to take steps to finish Asia. The reason is that I came from people who have no idea about football shirts and probably think of me as a total freak because of my collection. This shirt was a gift of my collegues in university for my birthday!
One of my collegues, Oli, contacted, through his girlfriend, a Taiwanese who works at our university. And he then contacted his relatives in Taipei and asked them to buy this shirt for me and send it to Germany.
All in all: Huge efforts was taken to bring me that special gift and my collegues spent 3 months at least to get hold of this rarity!
This I really want to thank each of them a lot! Thanks Oli, Julia, Karina, Timo and Michael. This means a lot to me and has a very special place in my collection as the first ever shirt I got from someone not at all into collecting shirts!
Thank you!

Dinamo Sukhum

My next (and last) stop during the Caucasus tour was Abkhazia or to be more precise: The city of Sukhum, its capital. Again I had an amazing time in my nice hotel at the seaside of the city!
Unfortunately is was impossible for me, even through the contacts I got there, to get hold of an Abkhaz national team shirt. But my friend of there, Astamur Adleyba, did not let me leave without giving me those great gifts of the team he is the president of: Dinamo Sukhum! Dinamo is the tradionally best and most succesful team of Abkahzia ever and their shirt is impossible to buy in any stores.
So thank you for a very special gift!


Georgia vs. Israel (0:0) | Euro 2012 qualifier | 2010 in Georgia
In my Caucasus trip 2014 I advanced from Nagorno-Karabakh, via Yerevan, to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The night train from Yerevan to Tbilisi was pure horror with a 2 hours border control stop in the middle of the night and 40+ degree in the sleeping room. Originally I planned to stay in Tbilisi the whole day before taking another night train to the Abkhaz border.
Instead I just spent a couple of hours in Tbilisi and then took a taxi to Zugdidi, the border city.
Of course I spent most of time in Tbilisi for the hunt for shirts! What else should a shirt-a-holic do in Tbilisi?
It was really hard to find any shirts in any shops around. So I just decided to go to the national stadium (and the one of Dinamo Tbilisi). Directly next to the stadium there are approximately 6 sport shops.
The 6th one of them I visited had a Georgian national team shirt. Yes, ONE Georgian national team. Only this single one I bought. It just cost like 25 Euro, which was as cheap as most stuff in the Caucasus.
After my trip to Abkhazia I went all the way back to fly home from Tbilisi and saw Georgian national team shirts in the airport again! I thought about buying some for my fellow collectors until I found out they cost 100 Euro there! So I skipped it unfortunately.


Nagorno Karabakh during the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup
In the beginning of April 2014 I had the huge pleasure to do my very first official trip as general secretary of ConIFA which led me to our both members in the Caucasus: Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia! Besides that I met the sports minister of South Ossetia, another member in that region, in Abkhazia.
I had an amazing time over there and really loved the whole trip and all I could see. This was an amazing experience and I think I found really a hidden gem on the world map there. Surely I will travel the region and Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia in particular again! For holidays or for ConIFA - I will come back for sure as it is so much worth it!

After landing in Yerevan a driver gave me a lift to Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. My hotel was just about 5 min walk away from the national stadium, which is beautifully placed in the very center of Stepanakert. In the stadium I had the honor to meet the national team coach and some days later I even met the FA president Mr Karapetyan, who gave me this amazing old matchworn shirt as a gift!
This shirt is absolutely not available somewhere and thus is very special to me. In addition it will always remind me of one of the best trips of my life. Spaßiba!


Alfreð Finnbogason (SC Heerenveen / Netherlands)
Iceland vs. Cyprus (0-1) | WC 2014 qualifier | 2012 in Cyprus
If I ever get asked which is my favorite FA in the world the answer will be easy: Northern European Island FAs beat them all! After getting 2 Faroe shirts from their FA as a gift earlier I know got 2 envelopes of the Iceland FA containing one shirt each!
The story to that was quite nice: I got an offer to do an exhibition of my whole collection during the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup in Östersund. All my shirts will be exhibitioned in or nearby the stadium and will be accessible for all fans that bought a WFC ticket! So I wrote to some of the FAs I am missing an email telling them about it and asked them to fill the gap. None of those FAs ever answered to my email until today. But Iceland just decided to answer by action!
They sent me a matchworn shirt from their best ever World Cup qualification campaign for Brazil 2014, where they reached the final knock-out match, which they just lost unfortunately.
Besides they also sent me the blue shirt, which seems to be match issued.
The design is quite cool, too. But here the gesture strikes everything else!

Þakka þér frá Íslandi!
I promise I will give that shirt a special place in Östersund!