With the start of the FIFA World Cup 2K14 in Brazil, the fever has been on rise in India as well.
India’s not so good 133rd ranking in football looks kind of contradicting when India soccer fans are looked upon. There is no sooner hope for Indian football team to qualify for FIFA but still India comes up as the country with the 3rd highest number of ‘FIFA World Cup’ related searches on Internet. Almost one third of the Indian population has made plans related to watching football matches in World Cup. There is an enormous appetite for footballl in our country.
Raja Ramanna says, “Football is not a sport story, its a love atory, a long distance relationship. It lacks logic exactly like a love story does.” No wonder India has got die-hard fans for football and it may be turned into a game of life and death for us Indians (well, maybe this was a bit exagerated).
Recently, fans in Malabar burned down a substation due to continuous power cuts during the matches which resulted in not being able to watch t.v. and in some other South Indian district, people managed without electricity for long hours and in turn demanded that no power cut should be in the duration of the World Cup. Many people have flags of their favourite country team including Argentina, Brazil, France and England fluttering atop their homes.
The kolkata fans have turned Mamata Banerjee’s -‘Ma, Maati, Maanush’ political slogan into ‘Ma, Maati, Maradona’. People are celebrating with disco-footballs, quiz shows, tattoos and facepaints. The fever has reached upto their hairs and many interesting hairstyles are being sported across the capital.
Goa has been painted in all red and green to support its hometown favourite Portugal. A former indian striker claims that in Kozhikade, even a small boy can comment upon the prospects of each and every team. In capital, Castle9 and Knight restaurants in cannaught place are offering football based menus. Customers keep coming there by 1 in the morning.
Bollywood could not remain untouched by this highly infectious fever and actors including John Abraham, Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Bipasha Basu and Deepika Padukone have sworn in their allegiance to the game.
If cricket was ‘bhagwan’, indians were the ‘bhakt’, but in recent years, soccer has also gained a very big share of media content. We dont have a strong team but we have an undying, passionate love for the game.
It is really difficult to decide if it is the game or the glamour of FIFA that is being followed but undoubtedly it has been rising on a very fast pace.
Brazil’s obsession with football didnt stop it from producing best teams for other sports as well like volleyball and baseball. But india looks like being stuck with the cricket obsession.
India qualified for FIFA in 1950 but withdrew from the world cup as we were not allowed to play barefoot.
India has a strong craving, the required hunger, we need to create better infrastructure to promote football in our india.