Every sport has its fans. Every football fanatic, a favourite player. And every football club, a favourite team. No wonder the Kozhikode cityscape is suddenly dotted with flex boards of football stars from across the globe.

The festoons and billboards of political parties have given way to rich hues of yellow, green, blue, and red at arterial junctions. Hoardings of playing teams and icons such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Luis Suarez, David Villa, and Mesut Ozil stare down at onlookers.

Every junction is flamboyantly decked with flex boards – be it at Nainamvalappu, the nerve centre of footballers, or at neighbouring Kothi.

The World Cup fever has energised fans across the coastal belt from Chaliyam to Puthiyappa. Not to be left behind are the football clubs at Mankavu, Puthiyapalam, and Karikkamkulam.

If the Bad Boys Club first erected a hoarding displaying its favourite team, Brazil, at Karikkamkulam on the Kozhikode-Balussery State Highway, over the next few days the junction saw huge multi-coloured flex boards being put up on either side of the road by Spain fans, Argentina fans, and those of Brazil. “It is a flex board war in the city,” says K. Mohanan, a shop owner. However, the city Corporation authorities are not amused by the flex boards. While some argue that these do not pose a danger to motorists, it is feared that they may come down in heavy rain or wind.

The police have been kept on their toes, with revellers unexpectedly spilling on to the busy streets. The law enforcers tolerate rallies at local junctions or a motorbike rally taken out with permission. On Sunday, they disbanded soccer-crazy fans who were to take out a road show without permission on the Kozhikode beach.

Clubs such as the Nainamvalappu Football Fans Association are also attracting fans after it organised a symbolic final between Brazil and Argentina. The association even made a replica of the World Cup for the winners.


Football fever rages in Malappuram June 9, 2014

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