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

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Strongest of Memories

This is something that I thought I should share on another day which would be considered more as the day of bigger relevance, but I don’t see any reason why I should delay this. To be frank, I think that I should have posted this one a long time ago. The one below is a poem which I had written on the demise of Jean Mathew, one of the earliest elderly brother figures I ever had; and to think more about it, I can’t remember any other. We had lost him to brain tumour on the third of March 2013.

He should be the most hardworking person I have ever known. Even at the worst of times, he was known for his faith, belief and hope, with a courage to face whatever comes next. He was active at http://jeanmathew.blogspot.in/ and http://photoshealingwords.blogspot.in/ during the toughest of times. The poem below has been shared before in his memories collected in a book form, but never online, and so I thought I would share this here too. This is no In Memoriam, ThyrsisAdonais or Lycidas, but just what I could come up with at that time. May be I can come up with something better on another day.

The memories go back to the 1990s
It was to Malampuzha that our first big trip
Happened like never before, with bliss
And I stood there with Jean chettan in front of
A structure which was India’s map in grass
And there was our first photo taken together.

One of our earliest photos, scanned from the old collection

One of our earliest photos, scanned from the old collection of memories.

And just in a few years, during that sojourn
At Palai, among the first few computer games
Which I ever knew, one of them named Paperboy
Along with some random Tetris and Racing stuff
And then at Vagamon, still one of our best photos
With the wind, Jean chettan and myself.

And that is not everything about photos though
As he captured the best moments of the world
Freezing time and space for us all to behold
And each snap by Jean chettan brought thoughts
With Bible verses gracefully attached to them
Those lambent snaps added further sunshine.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible Versions.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible Versions.

I still remember how much of hardwork
Jean chettan put into everything he did
And whenever I see any photo of those
Which were fallen autumn leaves or that
Which fell from the sky as pure white snow
I feel the radiance of what he captured.

Even as I shall never be able to show the same
Undisputed courage and strength in adversity
Or be that much hardworking as Jean chettan ever
His self-evident faith and optimism has done
A lot and has given strength to more than one soul
And left me further vivified in my own beliefs.

TeNy