Football fever in India

Posted on July 7, 2010 in Sports

By Sayan Pramanik:

Every four years, India falls prey to football fever all over again. Don’t get me wrong, there are a large number of us who closely follow the English Premier League, the Champions League and others, glorifying each win and criticizing each loss of their favourite club. But the World Cup adds a whole new dimension to the football fanclub. Ranging from small children to the average housewife, the elderly and of course the youth, the world cup is a hot topic for every discussion.

Over the last month, a majority of Facebook status updates and tweets have been about one thing and one thing only — the beautiful game. After every major match, my news feed gets overwhelmed with people expressing their views and opinions on the glorious goals, fumbles and controversies surrounding the match. For example the last time a certain English goalkeeper fumbled the ball to concede a very cheap goal, my news feed exploded with angry and passionate fans’ views on the matter. Furthermore, the World Cup is a healthy wake up call for the otherwise dormant football fan, giving them a refreshing change from the monotony of being a cricket fanatic. Even the not-so-eager football fans become part of this crescendo of football fever. And for the die-hard football fans in the country, the World Cup is the mother of all football events.

But that’s just the youth of the country. One can also see the elderly getting nostalgic about the good old days of football when Pele used to rule the field with his gifted feet, and of course Maradona’s dreaded Hand of God. Small children go on chanting the names of their favourite football players. For them, it is their new favourite sport. I went through the same phase during the 2002 world cup. According to me, Brazil was the best team in the world and they proved it by winning the World Cup, convincingly.

On the other hand, for regular office-goers, nothing is a better cure to another strenuous day at work than a great football game, unless the side you support loses. But then it’s all about ‘joga bonito’-the beautiful game. The clever pass, the cheeky dive, the flamboyant save and the moment of celebration when your favourite player scores a gem of a goal. All these things make your heart skip and make you forget about the vagaries of everyday life.

In India, if you are a football fan, by default Brazil is your favourite side. Kaka, Robinho and the likes form the team whom a majority of the country loves and supports. But now that Brazil has been knocked out of the world cup, needless to say there are a lot of fans who have some angry words for a certain Dutch team.

There are a lot of us would love to hear the Indian national anthem at a football world cup match at least once in our life. Till then we are content to watch the football world cup every 4 years with renewed vigour and excitement, supporting our favourite team but more importantly enjoying the game of football, because in the end it’s the game that matters.

image courtesy: