A page out of the diary of an Indian football fan
On my 20th birthday which recently went by, I asked my all friends from around the country to send jerseys or club merchandise of any Indian football club as my gifts. Sadly, every friend had the same answer. "Can't find anything." Upon checking myself, while I did get a few jerseys, but none my size. I'm only a large by the way. Sometimes medium. All I wanted was merchandise to express my support and love for Indian football but couldn't get it, sadly.
The title of this article could be taken in 2 ways -
- The Indian (Football Fan)
- The (Indian Football) Fan
I belong to the latter group. Yes, that's true. we exist. I am a part of a rather niche club in our country, which is the Indian football fans fraternity. It's been a bumpy, confusing ride, these past 3 years. But it's all been worth it.
We proudly claim that we are avid fans of Indian football, not while speaking in public but in letters like these. We get mocked for it, with ignorant people who care more about Europe and its leagues rather than supporting their own country when it needs them the most. We get laughed at for playing with Team India on FIFA, but we don't mind it. We 'fan-girl' hard when we see the Indian colours and we're proud of it.
I am one of those people who started watching and following Indian football post the introduction of the ISL in 2014. Post the first season, I started watching every football game in India game, be it the I-League, Subroto Cup, Durand Cup, ISL or the AFC Cup, basically whatever was telecasted, streamed online or I could physically attend.
The stigma and issues an Indian football fan has to face are stinging sometimes, but the occasional peach of a strike from our Captain Marvelous, the ongoing surge in our national rankings and the youngsters shining on the national platform make it all worth it.
To every Indian football fan, the road is long and bumpy. But we have to stay with our boys. They are going to be the best in the world one day. That day is hopefully, not too far away.