How are the battle lines drawn for the FIFA World Cup in India? football news

From freshly painted houses to revamped menus, fans in the grip of football frenzy are turning out for their favorite teams to witness a quadrennial spectacle
Qualification is still a dream but Indians know how to get out of the Football World Cup. And as close to home as the 2022 edition in Qatar is, soccer fever is riding high with the country once again split into competing colors of storied teams, from Brazil to Argentina and Portugal to England.


Just last week, a verbal abuse match took place at a small tea stall in Kerala, in which two people clashed. Malappuram, Those who tried to break up the quarrel found that the two were brothers, but it was not a family dispute as they had alleged. One of them said, “He may be my brother, but I have no relation with him till December 18.” It was then revealed that the siblings were divided over football loyalties, with the older brother being an Argentina fan while the younger brother supported Brazil.
Such brawls and fights are a common sight in Kerala whenever a Football World Cup is around the corner. Once every four years, flags and cutouts of political parties give way to banners and posters of global football heroes. Even the menu cards of hotels and juice bars are updated with items renamed after football stars and teams. So, mango juice can be named after someone neymar Or Alves or any other popular Brazilian soccer player, apparently because of his yellow color. Argentina, England and Germany also have juices, burgers and sandwiches named after their star footballers.


The craze doesn’t stop here. Some fans repaint their homes before the cup, the most popular colors being yellow and green for Brazil and pale blue and white for Argentina fans.
This year, the incredulous fan also succeeded in putting Kerala on the football map, with giant cutouts of Argentine great Lionel Messi and Brazilian star Neymar Jr attracting the attention of world governing body FIFA and the football associations of Brazil and Argentina Which were installed in one. A small village on the banks of the Pulavoor River in Kozhikode. It all boils down to fans’ desire to outdo supporters of rival teams – after a 30-foot cutout of Messi followed by a 35-foot cutout of Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo fans set up a 50-foot cutout of the Portugal legend .


The rivalry is also played out indirectly on the football field, thanks to “mini World Cup tournaments” which are held to coincide with the actual event. At least 10 to 15 tournaments will be held in Malappuram alone, which will feature all 32 participating teams of the actual World Cup. For major teams such as Brazil, Argentina, France, England, etc., the respective fan clubs form a team consisting of local players. For teams without fan clubs, organizers manage to find sponsors to back a team.
Football historian and author of the book Jafar Khan says, “The sponsors are mostly small shopkeepers. But they are more than happy to support a team, which may cost them a loss of a month’s earnings, because football is everything to them.” ” ‘Panthu Paranja Malappuram Kisa’, which tells the history football in Kerala.


But despite the usual fanfare, this time around feels different. For Keralites, it is as if this World Cup is being played in their own backyard.
This is because Qatar has a large number of expatriate Keralites and many fans from the state are traveling to the Gulf country for the event. Sources said that over 2,500 youths from Kerala have signed three-month contracts to work as volunteers for the World Cup, they are being paid up to Re 1. 5 lakh for the tenure apart from free food and accommodation.
Many of these youths have jobs in Kerala but have either taken leave or left to be part of the football carnival. Among them is Sulfikar Ali, an assistant professor of physical education at a college in Elayoor in Malappuram. He has taken leave without pay to work as a security officer for the World Cup. He said, “I was selected because of my previous stint with various football tournaments in India. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I didn’t want to miss it.”


The sentiment is similar on the west coast in Goa, which is sending a sizeable contingent of fans to Qatar. As football enthusiast Conrad Barreto puts it, “It’s just a short flight from here, less than it takes to travel within the country”.
An unprecedented number of fans are football players, administrators, priests and even legislators.
“I keep talking to people and it seems like almost everyone is coming to Qatar for the World Cup,” says Doha resident John de Sa. Habitat.

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“Why would anyone miss the chance to be at the World Cup when it’s so close?” asks former India coach Armando Colaco, who will be featuring in his maiden World Cup. “There is nothing like it.”
The bars, restaurants and halls in Goa are all set to match the screens. The holiday hub, like Kerala, is divided over loyalties towards football. There are plenty of fans for Brazil and Argentina while some root for England as well, but for many the sentimental favorite appears to be Portugal.
Goa was a Portuguese colony for 450 years until it merged with India in 1961. “When it comes to football, Goans are drawn to Portugal in the premier football championships,” says Jonathan De Sousa, vice-president of the Goa Football Association. “The Portuguese played a major role in popularizing football in Goa. Both association football and football leagues were started during the Portuguese rule in Goa.


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