Kerala Blasters FC fans plan mass protest against Materazzi at the next South Indian Derby
Marco Materazzi could be in for quite a reception when he next visits the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
In the aftermath of the incident that took place at the game between Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters FC on the 29th of October, for which Marco Materazzi received a one-game touchline ban, a couple of Kerala fans named Abdul Hadhi and Asheem, who identify themselves as passionate football fans, have decided to send a message to the Italian World Cup Winner.
They plan to do so by organising a mass protest at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium when the two teams meet next on the 12th of November.
The Blasters fans, who also happen to be cousins, believe the incident, which according to them saw Materazzi getting involved with both the Blasters’ players and non-playing staff, was despicable and heinous in equal measure. “We want to send a message to the Coach. And we thought long and hard about how we can do it as fans sitting in the stands. We want to protest against the (apparent) violence but want to do it as peacefully as possible,” said Hadhi when asked about his motive behind organising the protest.
“But this is an issue which needs to be brought to the attention of the world and the ISL. A Coach cannot get involved like this,” he further added.
The plan is simple enough. The movement will involve Hadhi, Asheem and a few friends distributing colour printed Zinedine Zidane masks, 35,000 of which have been created, to the Blasters fans attending the next derby, encouraging them to display their passion for the team.
According to them, the mask display will also help Kerala Blasters supporters regain their lost pride. “I am sure everyone remembers the incident that happened in the (2006) World Cup Final, where this Coach got one of the greats of the game sent off. He affected one of the greatest players in the world, who reacted to it. We want to show him that we may also have to react to it. And that the world remembers Zidane and not Materazzi,” added Hadhi.
The cousins have gone on to alert Kerala Blasters FC fan base by sharing a poster (pictured above) on various social media channels, which has a message in Malayalam that reads, ‘Friends, I will be at Kaloor (Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium) with these masks if you are ready to buy it.’
Materazzi, never a stranger to controversy, will be surrounded by these masks if all goes to plan. His reaction or the lack thereof could either add fuel to a simmering fire.
The protest, with the added caveat of success, will definitely lend a bit more spice to the South Indian derby, which has already garnered the reputation of being a feisty affair in the context of the short history of the Indian Super League.
Hopefully, none of this takes away from the football, which has been nothing short of spectacular in this particular edition of the Indian Super League.
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