Cricket may have replaced football as the most popular game in Kerala. But two things that can shake the people from their collective amnesia in this State are Santosh Trophy and the FIFA World Cup. The football fans went into mourning when Kerala failed to win the Santosh Trophy last year.

Now the State is in grip of football fever. The World Cup has rejuvenated the interest in the game. Football stories had dominated the space in language dailies. Football has now become the popular game at playgrounds and parks.

The World Cup has changed the soccer crazy district of Malappuram beyond recognition. Superstars like Zidane, Messi, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho stare at us from huge cut-outs in the city. The northern district has a special liking for South American teams Argentina and Brazil.

The district virtually did not sleep when the two nations played for the first time in the World Cup this year.

Down south in the football hub of Valiyathura and Vettucaud, the euphoria has been high.