TODAY -

FIFA fever grips my hometown again

Jyaneswar Laishram *

Football World Cup fever in Imphal :: June 14 2014
Football World Cup fever in Imphal on June 14 2014 :: Pix - Shanker Khangembam



One tenth of the world's population is said to have watched the Spain-Netherlands final match on TV in the last FIFA World Cup in 2010. It was an estimated population of 700 million people out of which 155 million were from India alone. Hopefully the count might include all football freaks in Bishenpur - a semi-hilly town situated sandwiching between Laimaton Hills and Loktak Lake and my birthplace where I spent most of my early teens playing some good soccer with a bunch of skilful skinny tribal boys from the neighbouring villages.

It was a time in the late-1980s when most of the households in the town started owning black and white TVs and young boys in my circle of friends were deeply inspired by some international football tournaments viz. FIFA World Cup, Euro Cup we caught just glimpses on Doordarshan?the only channel available on air in the then pre-cable TV era while internet was not even in embryonic stage.

However, it was not on TV but in a theater called Vishnu Cinema, about a five-minute walk from my house, I and my group of skinny friends watched first international football in a docu-movie on 1996 Mexico FIFA World Cup. It was really a turning point that turned every one of us on to pick up a football for a grapple every breezy afternoon on the green-grass stretch near the bank of Loukoi Lake, imitating those Argentines we saw on the big movie screen.

This was how team Argentina found a chunk of fans in an unlikely place called Bishenpur which Diego Maradona would never believe a boy like me in this sleepy town worshiped him as football god. All talks of the town after the World Cup movie totally revolved around Maradona?his dribbling style, infamously popular 'Hand of God' goal and other stories about the Argentine legend that every single skinny friend of mine orchestrally shared overlapping one over another.

There were star players like Michel Platini, Gary Linekar, Hugo Sanchez, among others who played timeless football in the 1986 FIFA World Cup and we saw their competencies in the Vishnu Cinema movie too, but no use since Maradona obscured them all. Euro Cup introduced us Rudd Gullit for whom every skinny friend of mine applauded, but not in front of Maradona.

Yes, Pele the Brazilian prodigy was someone so special to elderly folks in Bishenpur who called him 'classic' and always compared against Maradona, but it did not convince us even after digging up the fact that Brazil bagged three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970 under his captaincy. My circle of friends were a horde who lived under the 'seeing is believing' principle. We never saw Pele playing either on TV or any movie. He retired from the game long time before we watched the World Cup movie at Vishnu Cinema where our spotlight totally beamed down only on Maradona.

It was television that fuelled us to adapt new trends in music, fashion or sports in the 1980s. Mass popularity of cricket telecast on Doordarshan in that period instilled everyone in my circle of skinny boys and others around Bishenpur to give the gentleman's game a try. It absorbed! And it took us no time to get our bedroom walls wrapped with posters of popular cricketers?Richard Hadlee, Vivian Richards, Dilip Vengsakar, so on. Subsequently, everybody kept football far behind like a forgotten chapter.

Then after the momentary lapse, the year 1990 brought again the greatest quadrennial sporting show on earth?Italia 1990! Sleepy town of Bishenpur finally woke up to the explosive cheers when a striker rumbled near penalty box and commentator shrieked 'Goaaalll!' as the ball found back of the net. In such ambiance, who else in my circle of skinny friends could remain rubbing cricket ball on the groin at bowling crease?

'Italia 1990' unpacked a fresh fervor none of my skinny friends ever savored in 1996 at Vishnu Cinema. Everything sprouted different as watching the tournament was not limited to cheering for Maradona and Argentina. Italy, Cameroon, Colombia, France, Germany, Spain?everyone of us picked our favourite counties and cheered for newly found star players like Roger Milla, Salvatore Schillaci, Carlos Valderrama, Robero Baggio, whereas my stand still glued to team Argentina and Maradona who was still best remembered for being the one showing me the road to FIFA World Cup. In a sense, my tradition of supporting Argentina has been strengthened by the romance surrounding Maradona.

Years have layered half dozen FIFA World Cups since my Vishnu Cinema days. Batches of players appeared and disappeared in every four years over the last three decades, except some familiar faces of coaches who remain unchanged. This year, youngsters in Bishenpur, who care and know little about Maradona, go cheering for their favourite reigning stars such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar da Silva Jr, Zlatan Ibrahimovi? who have set their legions of fans across geographies and demographics. Of course, I like them too. Seeing them grappling in the ongoing World Cup in Brazil is indeed a new delight. New for the fact that every World Cup and its venue always float up with brand new contentment.

Brazil is special to me not because of the reason that it hosts the World Cup this year. Also, it is special to me not for being the only country that never missed FIFA World Cup since the tournament's inception in 1930 in Uruguay. It is simply special to me because it's a home to the legendary Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janerio which old football freaks in Bishnpur describe it to be a special place where Pele was shaped to a soccer legend. And everyone in my sleepy hometown is awaked to catch the final of FIFA World Cup 2014 at this historic stadium on July 13.

(This article is reproduced from the same published in Merinews)


* Jyaneswar Laishram wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at ozzyjane(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on June 24, 2014.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • Liberation War And Merger : Part 1
  • Diwaligi Ahingdo :: Wari
  • Exploding cyber crime in India
  • Manipur National Day- 18 October 1948
  • Greetings on Diwali & Ningol Chakkouba
  • TSA DJ Theme Song , DJ icon audition
  • Meghalaya Venue & Daywise Lineup
  • Tasked to monitor talk: Koijam-Himalay
  • Looking beyond the tough words
  • Rejoinder to deserted NPF Group Longleng
  • CM honors U-17 WC Footballers :: Gallery
  • Yinmajo, Thotchui, Daithaorei: eMing
  • I don't want to die before I am dead : Poem
  • Is the 'Fear for Qur'an' Being Traded ?
  • MUTA Series 4 : Who supports Whom?
  • What ails Manipur ?
  • Old Age pension Scheme details uploaded
  • Increased privilege for responsibility
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #1 :: Gallery
  • Seven Years Devastation: Book Review
  • Prelude to what we need to know 2!!
  • Matos bhai & our FIFA boys "bravo"
  • Trafficking vis-a-vis Domestic Work
  • An open letter to Chief Minister
  • DG Assam Rifles calls on Chief Minister
  • Nagaland press firm against intimidation
  • No Aadhaar, No Mid-day Meal stand
  • The good, the bad and the ugly
  • Footballer: U-17 World Cup :: Gallery
  • Kwak Tanba #3 :: Gallery
  • Night Plaza: Outlook of a developing Manipur
  • Biased national media
  • Agri-volatic: boosting agricultural income
  • Natural skin glow for Diwali
  • Eleven LPG refills in 4 months !
  • 'No change in territorial boundary of States'
  • MaiOn (scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Tune out within dark
  • Loktak: Storm brain before blasting barrage
  • Gojilove : Now In Manipur
  • Fighting a losing battle
  • A Poem for My Wife :: Poem
  • October 15 retrospection
  • E Sonamani: Jnangarima Manad Alankaran
  • 11th Mega Marathon Manipur #5 :: Gallery
  • Langbal Keithel @ Kangjeibung #4 :: Gallery
  • Geo-politics & Skill Devlp in Act East Policy
  • Wildlife Week: Working together for wildlife
  • Letter to ATSUM (Reply to rebuttal)
  • A rebuttal to "Imprudence of ATSUM"
  • Don't sleep with minor wife ruling: Rapist
  • Awaited expectation
  • Journey of Amur falcon #2
  • Irabot Day - March Past #2 :: Gallery
  • Buddha's Metta & Karuna #2
  • Hei-kak: An aquatic cash crop in Manipur
  • Flood prevention and mitigation
  • Unearthing gems: Northeast Diva 2016-17
  • Nagaland Whip issue hearing in the court
  • Film screenings on NE held in Estonia
  • Of Leikhom Leinang & Uphul Waiphul: NH-2
  • March: Mera Houchongba #2:: Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Annual Cultural #2:: Gallery
  • Langol Tourist Watch Tower #7 :: 360 ° View
  • .. end AIDS by 2030: Are we on track ?
  • Career in Tourism - Part 2
  • Which one should precede- ILPS or ST ?
  • Comedian Audition during Night Plaza
  • Seizure of Dried Fish Grenet (Tirkiya)
  • LPG diversion: Non-local in subscribers list
  • For a little bit more
  • Pot Lannaba: Houchongba #1 :: Gallery
  • Crowd @ World Tourism Day :: Gallery
  • Moreh PWD complex controlled by militants
  • FIFA U-17 : A milestone for NE football
  • Post submergence impacts of Mapithel dam
  • Cry of a Dying River - 4 :: Poem
  • Program on World Mental Health Day
  • Out but not down :: Needed : A strong Cong
  • Redefining 'Manipuri'
  • Imphal Evenings- Night plaza #2 :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • Keithel Lairembi Ima #3 :: Gallery
  • Observation of World Mental Health Day
  • Ruskin Bonding - VI
  • Life - A Bubble :: Poem
  • Mapung fana chathari
  • Surgical Closure of 'Hole in the Heart'
  • Inferred or in B/W? Integrity Vs integration
  • Imphal is changing but traffic a menace
  • Kwak Tanba #2 :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • Langbal Keithel @ Kangjeibung #3 :: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Week @ Dimapur:: Gallery
  • Journey towards Breaking the Shackles
  • The Man Who Saw Tomorrow :: Poem
  • Free Medical Camp at Lilong
  • From Nobap to World Cup: Magnificent 8
  • Journey of Amur falcon #1
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Birth Anniv #2:: Gallery
  • 11th Mega Marathon Manipur #4 :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17: US won but we were lauded more
  • Imprudence of ATSUM
  • Tonsuring the nature
  • March: Mera Houchongba #1:: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • AMAND Pune: Annual Cultural #1:: Gallery
  • Research Line : Book release Function
  • 100 Yrs Of Tangkhul Naga Football
  • Make RIMS shining
  • Another NE Youth Missing in the Capital
  • AMAND, Pune : 6th AGM / Annual Cultural
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Nungshibi : Social Networking :: Website
  • Seeking 2 years time: Too early to judge
  • Let Holy books be replaced by Constitution
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Loktak Folklore Museum- for fishing
  • Opening: Imphal Evenings :: Gallery
  • Mayanglambam Gourachandra: Awardee
  • Win the hearts if not the FIFA Cup
  • Cry of a Dying River #3 :: Poem
  • For the 8 football players of Manipur..
  • Article 342 makhada furup amana ST ki list
  • Manipur to set up land bank
  • Hosts India set to make FIFA WC debut
  • ATSUM against ST: Let the experts decide
  • A matter of concern for the future
  • Irabot Day - March Past #1 :: Gallery
  • Bor khoiramba @ Hiyangthang #2 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Have done it again
  • Hingchabi Changba: Possessed/ Exorcism
  • Tourism as career option
  • Hydro Electric Power: A must for Manipur #4
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Financial assistance to heart patient
  • Four tribe apex bodies question Naga Hoho
  • NPF asks NSCN-K to shun guns
  • Panel for NE water management
  • VIPsm on the roads of Imphal
  • So far so good; criticism should be welcome
  • Imphal Evenings- Night plaza #1 :: Gallery
  • Keithel Lairembi Ima #2 :: Gallery
  • Doren: 'Theatre of the Earth' wins in Kerala
  • Solo Album Launch of Awarthanga Chiru
  • How Manipur missed internal autonomy..
  • Whispering of Heart :: Peom
  • Hiring for real estate firm @ Gurugram
  • Manipur Govtgi warol taramna ok ee, adubu
  • Make stand known on Manipur youth killing
  • Promoting night life in Imphal Night Plaza
  • Look before you lift
  • Kwak Tanba #1 :: Gallery
  • Nitya Raas, Ras Leela Fest #1 :: Gallery
  • 11th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Assembly Elections 2017 #2
  • Brother :: Poem
  • Manipur State League: Table - 1st Oct
  • Defence Secy visits Manipur
  • Rajkumar clinches chess title
  • Mary Kom, Sarita in Asian Championships
  • Feeling heat from UNC : Next round of talk
  • Expanding live of Imphal: need of hour
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Birth Anniv #1:: Gallery
  • Vanishing pottery craft & Livelihood: Chairen
  • Irabot Day Celebration at New Delhi
  • Bare-footed Nobab players becoming Pele
  • Infertility: The real issues #2
  • 3rd Sunfeast Cup football tournament
  • North East Fashion Week- Nagaland edition
  • Scheduled Tribe Demand : 1 Oct Statement
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • Muslim body 'socially' boycotts Deputy CM
  • Rajkumar leads table with 7 pts
  • Cracking down on LPG hoarders ..
  • World Tourism Day- Inauguration :: Gallery
  • Hathoikim Chongloi, Gold Medal Taekwondo
  • Blending Chords : DU Music Album Launch
  • When rock music is more than a noise
  • O My Son :: Poem
  • Commemorates Irabot on 121st Birth Anniv
  • Tourism matters
  • Bor khoiramba @ Hiyangthang #1 :: Gallery
  • 11th Mega Marathon Manipur #2 :: Gallery
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irabot - A rare photo
  • Research Line : Book Preview
  • Irabot Day Celebration (2017)
  • Mourns the death of Dr. Aryo Shishak
  • Manipuri World Cup footballers to get 5 lakh
  • Urgent Appeals Program- celebrate 20 years
  • Night football: Promoting the 'beautiful game'
  • Right beginning
  • Food Stall at Phayeng #1 :: Gallery
  • Shri Shri Govindaji Temple #3 :: 360 ° View
  • World Heart Day 2017
  • Irawat the Legend #3
  • Exposing our treasure
  • 'Maniwood' vs 'Haolywood' Football :: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #5 :: Gallery
  • Keithel Lairembi Ima #1 :: Gallery
  • Lucifer-X : debut EP 'Project Xtermination'
  • ... trail of fake encounters by Supreme Court
  • Wabgai Keithel :: Gallery
  • Death Anniv- Bhagyachandra #4 :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #4 :: Gallery
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #1 :eRang
  • Yumnam Yaima : Manipuri Sahitya Parishad
  • A trip to Moreh #1 :: Gallery
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #6 : Ooba
  • Traditional Ritual @Khurkhul #4 :: Gallery
  • Priyogopal : Senior Film Artist :: eRang
  • Hathei Phanit @Sirarakhong :: Gallery
  • 239th Heikru Hidongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Heitha Leithaba @Kekrupat #2:: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Kang Tournament #2 :: Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS