After an entire year without much football action, the city has decided to come together for the Intercontinental Cup.
Being an ardent football fan in a metropolitan city is an arduous task. You have to juggle between your work life, your social life and your private life in order to make time for the one club with whom you fell in love with.
Those days seemed to be over for me when Mumbai FC shut shop and its ardent fans, the Yellow Brigade were left orphaned. But, every dark cloud has a silver lining they say. No, I am not talking about the ISL franchise that has popped up and has done a decent job in its own right.
I am talking about the Mumbai Football Arena and the Mumbai District Football Association’s Chairperson, Aditya Thackrey. Under his guidance and promptness, Mumbai was able to attract the Indian national team gaffer’s attention and has held it in great esteem.
Stephen Constantine has time and again insisted that he is a ‘creature of habit’ and loves the ‘hospitality of Mumbai.’ Frankly speaking, it is true. We Mumbaikars are very hospitable and love to hold our Indian virtue of Athithi Devo Bhava close to our hearts even when the guests are our very own blood.
Mumbai FC evoked in me a love and passion for football which I never fathomed to have had and it has stuck with me through everything. Now, that we have the opportunity to see the Indian team play in our backyard, I and a thousand more Mumbaikars will let out screams and shouts of joy, along with songs to our heroes who will be on the green playing their hearts out and making the opponent bite the dust.
I know I sound like an extremist or an ultra. But, you have to take into account one thing, Mumbai doesn’t see I-league football throughout the year and if you don’t count the national team’s games, we only have nine professional games of televised football being played in a city, which was once known to have produced talents like Steven Dias and former India captain Abhishek Yadav. So, with all this love for Indian football being bottled up inside us, we let it out in the stands.
This time around another bright silver lining has dawned upon us. The amalgamated Indian football fan-base that was created for the India U-17 World Cup, has organized the fans in Mumbai under the umbrella of the Blue Pilgrims. I, myself will be a part of this movement and reminiscing the love for Indian football in my heart, I will join them in their battle cries and make sure that our voices echo and reach those who play for us in Blue!