Indians’ Love affair with Football




India is seen as a cricket crazy country in world and not known for Love of Football. Love for Football might be less in India but still number of fans in India is way more than population of Germany, Spain or England and when it comes to World Cup football, Indians are ever ready to embrace football with open arms.

Twenty years back if one would have asked any Indian that which football team are they supporting? Answer would be promptly and inevitably Brazil. We Indians love Brazil because they play game with flair & passion and love for flamboyance of ours’ is well known. Brazil was inspiration for our father and grandfather’s generation as they were the first coloured team to win prestigious World Cup trophy. Players like Pele mesmerized world with their skills and their story of hard work to achieve that success. It was like a fairy tale for Indians at that time when India was suppressed and treated as a helpless country. These players have gone from rags to riches and succeeded in Footballing world. Their inspirational story and beautiful football had started a generation of follower and lovers of Brazil football team in India. Brazil never disappointed their passionate Indian fans winning world cup five times and producing legends like Pele, Garrincha, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho etc. This time Brazil might be lacking in world class players like Ronaldo or Pele but they play same beautiful football with same passion & flair and Older Indian generation is still passionately behind Brazil in this World Cup. Their love affair with Brazil is continuing in their late 50s & 60s.

Due to cable industry boom, Younger generation has seen a lot of football from EPL to La Liga to Bundesliga. They are not solely in love with Brazil anymore. Their loyalty is divided between Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Ribery, Rooney, and Suarez etc. Most often they support National teams of their favourite player. They have varied choices from Spain, Germany, Portugal, Netherland, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina to even England. Imagine someone even backing England to win this World Cup football but that is what fan following of so many leagues have given us.

There is no doubt that Messi and Ronaldo are new age sensation. They are ruling World football for last six-seven years. Indians love heroes in any field and Individual brilliance is what they are attracted to most of the times so no wonder Messi and Ronaldo have created a strong support for their National team i.e. Argentina and Portugal with their individual brilliance on football field. Spain is also many youngsters’ top pick. Xavi, Iniesta have floored people all over the world with their delicate touches, deft and intelligent passes. Although many people see Spain style of football as boring football but their success and stellar performance of Xavi and Iniesta have earned them so many followers.

English Premier League was the first one to catch imagination of Indian youth through their timely live telecast in India and this created a bunch of people who back even England in every big tournament but only to see their dream crashing. This might sound a bit harsh on their ears but England as a team never looks threatening nor they show superb skills. They are just like showcase in World Cups. I hope my favourite player from EPL i.e. Rooney proves me wrong this time and takes England to knockout stages which seem very unlikely at present.

Younger generation can never shrug off choices of their predecessors easily. So, many in younger generation still pick Brazil as their number one choice. Their Father’s choice seems to have rubbed off to them also. Brazil is still India’s favourite team as if they are masked Indians.

Brazil might not have the class of Ronaldo or Pele anymore but as a team they are still amongst best and home support will boost them to outperform every other team. They gave a timely reminder of their class at Confederation Cup in 2013 when they defeated World Champions Spain easily by 3-0.

Indians will sulk forever on why India didn’t play Fifa World Cup in 1950. AIFF rejection to that offer will always haunt football lovers in India. Till the time India finds her own Pele, Ronaldinho or Ronaldo, to give us success on world stage our love affair with Brazil will continue with hope that India will someday achieve same success in football as Brazil has.

It’s 12th june midnight, It’s World Cup time folks so grab your beer and enjoy samba and cheer for Brazil or for that matter whichever team you like.