An Open Letter to Bengaluru FC from a passionate fan
Before I pour out my feelings about (and on) this historical night, I would like to apologize for not being present at the stadium to witness you rewrite the Indian football history books. Indeed your performances over the two legs and more than that the results over the two legs have filled my heart with immense joy. I feel proud, more than ever today, to be an Indian and this makes me sad that I could not witness you making history, live. So, please, accept my heartfelt apologies.
India used to be a force to be reckoned in Asian football a few decades ago. We used to be the team to beat. But gradually we faded into mediocrity and then declined even more only to become one of the other nations to have a football team. But it is your hard work and dedication to this game and to the Indian footballing cause that has brought our country back on the Asian football map. Thank you, for making all of us, a slightly more proud Indian.
On 5th of November, 21016, when all the football fans in Asia will tune in to watch the finals of AFC Cup, they will find you, a young football club from India, fighting for this prestigious trophy, giving your all for this prestigious cup. They will see that India is set to be a major player in Asian football (hopefully) and that the sleeping giants have woken up from their slumber (once again - hopefully).
You, at least for the time being, have brought us back on the continent’s footballing map. For gifting us this precious moment to cherish, I, along with the whole country, have only you to thank.
After a busy day, most of us returned to our residences, somehow, just in time to catch the live telecast. Your performance in the first leg in Malaysia had us feeling very optimistic about the outcome of this match as well as the tie.
You had to carry the hopes of more than 1.2 billion people on your shoulder, and, to your credit, you did that just perfectly. Thank you again, for not letting us down, not that we would have complained, for it was your effort that we sought more than result, and you gave us much more than that.
We all know that football is a fickle game and can turn in anybody’s favor at any given moment. It brings out all kind of emotions out of us football fans in just a matter of ninety minutes. Today, all of us were just football fans who would love to see their beloved nation on the footballing map, occupying a position alongside the powerhouses of world football.
So, please, forgive us, for when the away goal was scored, we got a bit disappointed that they were leading at our home. 79 minutes is a lot of time in football but still, a few of us doubted you, your capabilities, your perseverance.
But, despite an early setback, you did not give up and kept going on, with just victory in sight. In doing so, you reminded us of a very important lesson that all of us have been listening since our childhood that we should never give up and we would like to thank you for this too. Thank you.
It was the fortieth minute of the match. The score was still 1-0 in JDT’s favor despite a barrages of chances for you. But then yours as well as our beloved, Sunil Chetri, leaped the highest to head the ball into the net, sending all of us in frenzy. That goal renewed our hopes, our belief in you.
And then when Chetri blasted the ball into the net to give us the lead, that moment was pure bliss. It was a top drawer goal, reminiscent of Steven Gerrard’s goal vs Olympiakos in 2005 Champions League semifinals to send Liverpool through to finals, which they eventually won (I hope you get what I am trying to say).
It was the result of the dedication and hard work that you put in your football, so that, us, simple Indian football fans, can feel the same boundless joy as our seasoned European counterparts. You deserve to be praised for it. Thank you.
But it was the final nail in JDK’s coffin that buried the whole country in your debt. All of us were on planet nine. Our joy knew no bounds. It was then and there that we knew the game was done and dusted. I would have bet my life on it. I believed in you, I believed that we will certainly win hereon. Such was your performance. You won the whole nation’s heart. You gave them a new hope that we will rise again.
This win is not just a win on a football pitch, I believe this is the starting of a revolution – revolution in Indian football. I hope this win will show the rest of the nation a way, a way of winning and more importantly, the proper way of managing a club. You maybe young, but still, as of now, you stand tall as the torchbearer of and pathbreaker in Indian football. In a cricket crazy nation, you are the new talk of the town.
No matter how many times we have thanked you and no matter how many times we will, your achievements are unprecedented and praise worthy. You, not ISL nor AIFF, have made Indian football relevant again. For that no amount of gratitude is enough. We shall always be indebted to you.
Thank you once again, from the deepest corners of our hearts.
An overjoyed Indian football