Assyriska FF

Assyriska Fotbollsföreningen, also known simply as Assyriska FF, is a Swedish football club based in Södertälje, Stockholm County. The club, formed in 1974 by Assyrian immigrants, has advanced through the league system and is currently playing in the fourth highest Swedish league, Division 2. They played in the highest Swedish football league Allsvenskan in 2005 where their games were broadcast in over 80 countries.[1] The club has also played a final in Svenska Cupen, which was lost against IF Elfsborg in 2003.

Assyriska FF
Full nameAssyriska Fotbollsföreningen
Nickname(s)AFF
Founded1974 (1974)
GroundSödertälje Fotbollsarena, Södertälje
Capacity6,700
ChairmanAziz Jacob
ManagerCarlos Banda
LeagueDivision 2 Södra Svealand
2019Division 2 Södra Svealand, 3rd

Assyriska is often viewed as a substitute national team by the Assyrian people.[1][2]

The club has a fan base from all over the world[2][3] and has also their own pop song which is called "My Assyrian team – the team of my dream". A documentary film about Assyriska called "Assyriska: A National Team Without A Nation" was also made in 2006 by Nuri Kino and Erik Sandberg. The success of the documentary film made it possible to win the Golden Palm Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival.

History

Assyriska Föreningen in Södertälje was founded in 1971 by ethnic Assyrian refugees from Turkey who belonged to the Syriac Orthodox Church. Three years later, a football team was started and played its first season in the lowest league in 1975. They advanced through the divisions and reached the second highest league, Division 1 (today replaced by Superettan), in 1992, as the first immigrant team ever. The team was however relegated in 1993, and the next few years, the club played every second year in Division 1 before managing to stay there for more than one season in 1997.

In 2003 Assyriska made it to the final in Svenska Cupen, where they lost with 0–2 against IF Elfsborg. On the way to the final, they won against IFK Göteborg with 4–1 and Djurgårdens IF with 0–4.[4]

They lost a promotion play-off against Örebro SK in 1999, but five years later, in 2004, Assyriska was promoted to Allsvenskan, the highest league, for the first time as Örebro SK was relegated due to economical problems.[5] Assyriska's debut in Allsvenskan went well in the beginning and they had a couple of notable wins against big clubs as IFK Göteborg with 0–3 and against IF Elfsborg with 1–3. However Assyriska were relegated after only one season in the Allsvenskan, where they finished last. Since then Assyriska had fallen into Division 1 North, but enjoyed a strong season in 2007 to finish champions and were promoted back into the Superettan.

At the close of the 2009 season Assyriska, having held off the challenge of rivals Syrianska FC to finish third in the Superettan table,[6] faced Djurgårdens IF in a play-off for a place in the Allsvenskan in 2010. Assyriska won the first match at home 2–0 but were overcome 3–0 after extra time in the repeat.[7][8] In season 2010, Assyriska finished 4th in the Superettan.[9] But 2010 was a season in which football became irrelevant for Assyriska after the murder of player Eddie Moussa.[10]

Since then, the team has made a series of mid-table finishes and remains in the Superettan for the 2013 season.[11][12]

Stadium

Assyriska Föreningen's primary stadium since 2006 is Södertälje Fotbollsarena. Until 2006, the team played at the old stadium Bårsta IP.

Supporters

Assyriska Föreningen's official fan club is called Zelge Fans. They were first started 1993 by a group of Assyriska supporters in Södertälje. They were known as Neshre, which means eagle (or eagles) in Syriac. Three months after they launched, the club changed its name to Zelge Fans, Zelge meaning "sun rays" in Syriac. The sun rays are a symbol of the Assyrian flag, which is where the idea to name the fan club Zelge Fans came from. Most of the members are Assyrians, but the Zelge fan club also has many Swedish members.

Assyriska's fans are also growing in numbers as a result of the internet. During its early years, Assyriska did not have the mass means of communication to be able to spread their team information consistently to other mass Assyrian areas (Chicago, New Jersey, California, Toronto, Sydney, etc.). With the tech age, Assyriska has been able to spread its fan base outside of Södertälje and become known in over 80 countries. Acting as their national team, Assyriska represents the entire population of Assyrians throughout the world.[2][3]

Assyriska has become a true symbol for Assyrians traveling to Sweden. Many make it their goal to watch an Assyriska match at least once when they travel to Sweden.

Players

First-team squad

As of 8 April 2018[13]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 GK Kevin Dyplin
3 DF Emil Eliasson
4 DF Frej Engberg
5 DF David Durmaz (vice captain)
6 MF Sal Jobarteh
7 FW Love Reuterswärd (on loan from Brommapojkarna)
8 MF Sebastian Holmqvist
9 DF Stefan Batan (captain)
10 MF Kevin Krans
12 MF Lawal Ismail
14 FW Victor Söderström
No. Position Player
15 FW Gino Berg
16 FW Roberto Varto
17 MF Abu Bakarr Suma
19 MF Gabriel Aphrem
20 DF Afram Hanna
22 MF Armin Tanković
24 DF Archie Harvey
25 DF Robin Jacobsson
77 FW Husein Aly
85 GK Zoran Aković
88 DF Kyle Konwea

Retired numbers

18 Eddie Moussa, forward (2001–2010)

Staff

Sports

Achievements

League

Cups

Notable coaches

Season to season

Season Level Division Section Position Movements
1993 Tier 2 Division 1 Norra 14th Relegated
1994 Tier 3 Division 2 Västra Svealand 1st Promoted
1995 Tier 2 Division 1 Norra 12th Relegated
1996 Tier 3 Division 2 Västra Svealand 1st Promoted
1997 Tier 2 Division 1 Norra 9th
1998 Tier 2 Division 1 Norra 5th
1999 Tier 2 Division 1 Norra 2nd
2000 Tier 2 Superettan 11th
2001 Tier 2 Superettan 13th
2002 Tier 2 Superettan 5th
2003 Tier 2 Superettan 10th
2004 Tier 2 Superettan 3rd Promoted
2005 Tier 1 Allsvenskan 14th Relegated
2006* Tier 2 Superettan 13th Relegated
2007 Tier 3 Division 1 Norra 1st Promoted
2008 Tier 2 Superettan 4th
2009 Tier 2 Superettan 3rd Promotion Playoffs
2010 Tier 2 Superettan 4th
2011 Tier 2 Superettan 9th
2012 Tier 2 Superettan 8th
2013 Tier 2 Superettan 8th
2014 Tier 2 Superettan 14th Relegation Playoffs
2015 Tier 2 Superettan 4th
2016 Tier 2 Superettan 14th Relegated
2017 Tier 3 Division 1 Norra 9th

* League restructuring in 2006 resulted in a new division being created at Tier 3 and subsequent divisions dropping a level.[14]

See also

References

  1. "Assyriska laddar för festpremiär". SVD. 12 April 2005. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  2. "Assyriska har blivit hela världens landslag" (in Swedish). DN. Archived from the original on 1 November 2003. Retrieved 31 October 2003.
  3. "Assyriska ska värva stjärnor". Expressen. 4 December 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  4. "Elfsborg slog Assyriska i cupfinalen". AB. 1 November 2003. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  5. "Assyriska till allsvenskan". SR. 8 November 2004. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  6. "Summary – Superettan – Sweden – Results, fixtures, tables and news". Soccerway. 9 January 2013.
  7. "Summary – Allsvenskan – Sweden – Results, fixtures, tables and news". Soccerway. 9 January 2013.
  8. "Jonson räddade Djurgården i kvalet". Expressen. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  9. "Summary – Superettan – Sweden – Results, fixtures, tables and news". Soccerway. 9 January 2013.
  10. ""De visste vilka de var ute efter" | Nyheter | Aftonbladet". Aftonbladet.se. 1 July 2010.
  11. https://int.soccerway.com/national/sweden/superettan/2011/regular-season/r13444
  12. https://int.soccerway.com/national/sweden/superettan/2012/regular-season/r16836/
  13. "Truppen" (in Swedish). Assyriska FF. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  14. "GAIS – Lagfacta – Assyriska FF". Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
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