Whatever Begins Should End

ISL seems to have begun and ended so early, and we are left wondering what is to do with that time period between six fourty five and nine before sleep. There is an emptiness there, and this absence has basically become a presence, a bloody spiritual presence of something that calls for thinking about the league more and more, especially when sitting with nothing to do. It has finished in style, but we are still left with some memories, especially of the final. The rest have already been taken and locked up.

As I had said earlier in my post (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/indian-football/), this is a final in which both results had the power to make me happy. It was exactly what was delivered on the night. Looking at the sad face of Sourav Ganguly was going to be depressing, and I wondered about a possibility of both teams winning, as Apoula Edel became that mountain that Michael Chopra couldn’t overcome. As I have mentioned much earlier, three of my four suggested teams for the semi-finals also made it to the top four and my favourite two teams were playing the final (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/a-change-or-no-change/).

The legend of these two never ends - the best opening pair ever.

The legend of these two cricketers never ends – the best opening pair in cricket, ever.

I have been a Sourav Ganguly supporter throughout my life. In cricket, his dedication and passion was not rewarded well enough in the last stages of his career, and IPL didn’t give him his due either, as there was only money that mattered there. This year, with ISL coming to the picture, I wondered how it was to turn out, and in the end, as everything seemed to finish off well, that was another case of things becoming fair – as this is the Lord of the Off Side and Prince of Kolkata who brought to us the first team in ISL and had the first big collaboration with the Spanish football giants Atletico Madrid, with all the celebrities at the opposition camp on the day of the final.

There is nothing that Dada hasn’t done for Indian cricket, and there had to be another day on which he had to be on the screen, happy and with his arms raised high in victory, and it was that day. It was the day of the warrior, once again. Even if it is on the stage of other game, the wrongs have to be undone, and Sachin Tendulkar won’t mind, I am sure – he would be supporting good football, especially after watching the match from Chennaiyin. After all, this is a league which is not owned by any organization like BCCI, and Atletico de Kolkata played and won with the right spirit.

Just another photo of them as a psychological move to get support :D

Just another photo of the two legends as a psychological move to get support for this blog 😀

Another fact is that Kolkata deserved the win, coming back with the confidence which they had lost with a loss supported by a disallowed goal which should have been there. They had dominated the league and was at the top for most of the season, and in the end, they also finish first in the league with the final win – sounds fair. Then there is Iain Hume winning the Hero of the League, and Sandesh Jhingan also getting his deserved award. Kerala Blasters, you can be proud. There were still people who didn’t want both these teams in the final, and this match is a slap on their faces. Dadagiri can never be destroyed, and Sachin Tendulkar is forever.

The game had some good moments, and it is the happiness of having two of these teams and not any other in the final. Kerala Blasters can be happy about having reached this stage after being considered one of the worst teams in the league. David James can be delighted about coming this far. More than anything else, they also lost more to a fantastic performance from Apoula Edel, a goal keeper who became the wall. There is also the award won for the best fans, and that is much deserved. My only sadness is that Kerala Blasters didn’t play Pedro Gusmao and Sushant Mathew enough.

The winners of the match, trophy and the soul, with Dada and Mrs. Ambani

The winners of the match, trophy and the soul, with Dada, Mrs. Ambani and the others.

Lets thank Nita Ambani, Star Sports and the rest of the sponsors and people involved for bringing this tournament to a success as it has turned out to be, and lets wait for the next season. Meanwhile, lets appreciate the good things that have happened to the Indian football along with those waiting to happen, and a final which had two teams playing each other with mutual respect rather than trying cheap tricks or getting one sided decision from the referees for no reason. India is becoming a powerful force of soccer, and it is time cricket makes way for football, and tennis is also gaining in popularity, thanks to Roger Federer’s recent Delhi visit.

*Photos are from NDTV and Sportswiki (cropped).

TeNy

Hope for Indian Football

Days have passed after Kerala Blasters FC overcame all odds as everyone desperately tried to make Chennaiyin FC win by whichever way possible – by giving cards to Kerala players and even sending one off even before thirty minutes had passed, along with allowing a penality for no good reason and even allowing a goal by hand when there was a good view for the referee. Even Chennaiyin’s owner was showing disrespectful actions, and the crowd was not that sporting. There was a high level of play from Chennai’s team, but no righteousness.

But still Kerala Blasters had progressed to the finals becoming the first ever finalists of the league, a position which was reserved for the teams which came first or fourth in the league. They had the power of poetic justice and karma which favoured the righteous who played the fair game rather than those who took another unfair path towards glory, not caring about sportsmanship. It struck lightning on those who played the rough game like what happened to Netherlands against Spain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final, even as the Orange team was better until then.

But that game had a better referee, but it was not the case here, as every step was taken to ensure that Kerala Blasters doesn’t win the match. But karma once again took over as Marco Materazzi ended up on the wrong side this time, with missing penality and getting a red card just before Kerala scored the winning goal. Yes, nobody messes with Zinedine Zidane and escapes, as the grand curse stays for a long time. They say that Luis Suárez bites, but there are worse things that happen on a football field, and I would consider being bitten better – ask the Vampire Bat (http://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/bathistory/)

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So what happened on the next day? It was Sourav Ganguly’s Atletico de Kolkata taking on Virat Kohli’s FC Goa. There were two teams who had their first leg as a draw. There was the team of a retired legend cricketer taking on the team of a future legend to take on the team of the immortal cricketer. This time, there is nothing carried over, and one match was to decide things. So, I decided to watch the full match this time without missing any second, as there was no tension for me with my favourite teams everywhere.

My belief was that it was going to be a fair game, and as both Goa and Kolkata had owners who believed in giving their best and as they have been the ones who showed their fighting spirits rather than showing off, I was sure that this one would be a better game of real and fair football even as I was not sure about the amount of thrills. Yes, Goa seemed like a better team, considering the second part of the league. But my love for the City of Joy was eternal just like my admiration for Sourav Ganguly.

But things seemed different this time, as there was no goal at all, compared to the seven we had seen in the other semi-final matches, and it had to end with a shoot-out. Surprisingly, the best from Goa missed the first kick and another one hit the crossbar, giving the match and a spot in the final to Kolkata which had all shots right into the goal. It would be Sachin Tendulkar’s team vs Sourav Ganguly’s team; a match between two teams which had the most attendance during their matches, a treat for the most passionate fans of the league. Yes, this is the dream final. Kerala gets recognition, Sachin is happy and Dadagiri never ends. This is a final in which both results can make me happy.

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Meanwhile, I really hope that the fans of the teams had showed more respect to others, and among the fans, I have found the North East fans the best. As a team representing eight states, I have found them to be better than most of the other fans who have been fighting and abusing each other. And John Abraham also deserves a lot of respect for supporting football in the right manner as the righteous as well as the supporting owner, and not being bad towards the rest. I wish NorthEast United FC the best of luck for the next season. May Indian football thrive, and so do the teams which play fair football.

*I am surprised that Amitabh Bachchan said in Twitter that many decisions were against them when everyone in the world felt that referee was the twelfth player of the Chennai team against the Kerala team of ten players. I wonder if Big B changed sides while tweeting it. ***All images used in this blog post are from the official page of Indian Super League at Facebook.

TeNy

What is Bigger than Winning?

*Except for the last photo, the images are from the Official Facebook Page of Kerala Blasters. What I asked is a question that we see in the advertisement for Indian Super League, and it is about what is more important that winning. It says that the answer to that question is winning the league for the first time and becoming the first champion ever. I don’t consider it an interesting one though, as that achievement is something which will stay heavy only for a few years. Shouldn’t the answer have been “winning the league the most number of times”?

Well, I have an answer for the same, and it is “to try your best and earn respect”. Yes, Chennaiyin did well to come back from nowhere to go up, a lot of appreciation is needed for that. That should also mean that one like less for Jeje Lalpekhlua, that is from me, just because I don’t approve handballs. Yes, everybody can’t be Adam Gilchrist or Rahul Dravid, but if they tried to be honest, that would have pleased me. I always love such a good gesture. Yes, the referee also contributed to it, whose fault it remains.

There is no denying the power of this man, no matter what happens.

There is no denying the power of this man, no matter what happens in the end.

I believe that Chennaiyin would have won against Kerala Blasters, but it is karma that let them down. Kerala got the worst of the referee as what happened with Atletico de Kolkata reversed like a tsunami multiple times, with the worst decisions being made against them. But to add to that, Chennaiyin had to add the handball, and I believe that the one moment of cheating took the weapons of karma started its work. Poetic justice – ever heard of it? It will come to you some day, may be in this life or the next. This time, it came earlier.

Well, it is quite usual for the new generation who are taught that there is nothing bigger than winning. It is all about being glory hunters, and we have a lot of them in football. Marco Materazzi’s missing of penality is also about the same – the one thing that made him more famous than the rest, is what he caused to Zinedine Zidane, one of my favourite players of that time. He became a main reason for many of us to dislike the Chennaiyin FC along with the overacting that Abhishek Bachchan was doing at the stadium. That red card was coming for Materazzi, because there is God, and there is Sachin Tendulkar.

If you try your best and still lose, it is still a big thing.

If you try your best and still lose, it is still a big thing. Always fight till the end.

Chennai is my second favourite city in India outside Kerala, coming next only after Kolkata, and every time, I hope to support them in any league and appreciate them coming first on the league table, but something always comes up. With Chennai Super Kings, there was that match-fixing scandal, and there was the owner of the same team controlling the whole cricket in India. Now, even for Chennaiyin FC, there is the co-owner Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and I can’t help not seeing a connection there. I then wondered why the Bangalore franchise was replaced with Chennai.

Even in a match which saw one of the worst refereeing of the whole tournament, the highlight is the effort which both teams put up here, especially Kerala Blasters who fought all odds to win this battle. Nothing seemed to work for them as there was the early red card, too many fouls against them even as the referee gave less number of them, a self-goal, a penality and a goal with a hand – all going against them. It seemed that even Mukesh and Nita Ambani were with Chennaiyin. A defeat was certain there, and with the goal keeper and the best strikers replaced, there was even less hope with a shoot-out.

Seeing a happy Sachin Tendulkar with other senior players = happiness

Seeing a happy Sachin Tendulkar with other senior players and the team = happiness 🙂

Kerala Blasters did hold on though, and when wonder how this poetic justice worked like a dream, the name of Sachin Tendulkar comes to one’s mind. This is another gift to one of the greatest sportsmen India has ever produced, and it would be great if the other team in the final is Atletico de Kolkata, but the three teams that remains now are my favourites, and I will only be extremely delighted no matter who wins this first ISL – let it be Kerala, Kolkata or Goa. What about Sachin Tendulkar vs Sourav Ganguly in the final – wouldn’t that be awesome?

*Even if Kerala Blasters had lost today, they would have won hearts, but they chose more, and the fight they brought is more important than winning. Despite what the owners, coaches, some fans and the officials have been doing wrong, Chennaiyin team also deserves respect for making this attempt. One thing I admire about Abhishek Bachchan is that he stood with his team till the end making every team wish that they had an owner like him, otherwise I am not a fan of him with what he is showing on the ground and in the movies.

And then there is my friend Praveen Joy who managed to click one with Sachin :O

And then there is my friend Praveen Joy who managed to click one with Sachin :O 😀

Thank You Kerala Blasters! TeNy