The world of Indian football can divide opinions at times. While positive results for the Indian national team has coincided with a spike in their FIFA ranking, the upheaval in the structure of domestic football in the country has been a source of constant frustration for the Indian football fans.
In such times, however, the fraternity of Indian footballers have reaffirmed that football still remains a community-driven sport in India at large.
In light of the recent happenings across the country, the world’s second most populous nation, Indian footballers have come together to show their support for victims, flood-hit and violence-affected alike.
The events of this week in Darjeeling where three people were killed after violence and firing on the streets commenced was condemned by India international Nirmal Chettri via social media. Chettri, who played for NorthEast United in the Indian Super League (ISL) last season, took to Facebook to express rebuke over the recent events.
Chettri follows in the footsteps of fellow Indian football stars Jayesh Rane and Ashutosh Mehta, who earlier this week started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for those affected by the devastating floods in Mizoram.
With the monsoon season gathering pace across India, incidents of flood-related calamities are commonplace in the country but the way Rane and Mehta decided to give something back to the community that cheered them on during last season’s epic I-League title win is as commendable as it is heartwarming.
After Mehta and Rane, the Football Players Association of India (FPAI) has now decided to come together with the local association of Mizoram to help the small northeastern state’s cause in tackling the natural calamity.
The players’ body, of which Rane, Chettri and Mehta are a part, has arranged a charity match next month along with the Mizoram Football Association at Aizawl FC’s homeground, the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
The proceeds from the match – on July 1st – will go to those affected by the flash floods in Mizoram. The floods have reportedly caused widespread chaos and damage, apart from taking the lives of more than 10 people and displacing upwards of 350 families.
The FPAI made the announcement via their various social media channels. The Mizoram FA will field a Mizoram FA XI for the match, as key Aizawl FC players from last season are expected to feature.
With peace only to be strived for and not to be totally found, Indian footballers, past and present, have shown their support to different causes, confirming once again that football is a sport that can help people come together in times of despair as well as joy.
We salute the whole Indian football community for their immense gestures, which suggest that not all is wrong with Indian football.Published 21 Jun 2017, 19:21 IST