Chelsea makes virtual Alappuzha tour, Minister invites them for a real one

Updated - April 20, 2023 12:50 pm IST

Published - April 20, 2023 12:17 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

A virtual image posted by Chelsea on Instagram, showing its players Reece James and Enzo Fernandez standing on the bow of a houseboat in Alappuzha with Kai Havertz looking at his teammates. 

A virtual image posted by Chelsea on Instagram, showing its players Reece James and Enzo Fernandez standing on the bow of a houseboat in Alappuzha with Kai Havertz looking at his teammates. 

When Chelsea, the English football club, made a virtual tour of the State’s backwater paradise Alappuzha on Tuesday, praising the beauty of the land, the State’s Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas invited the Blues for a ‘real’ tour of God’s Own Country.

“The beauty of Kerala! The Blues visit the scenic backwater of Alleppey as part of the virtual tour,’ ran the legend of a virtual image posted by Chelsea on Instagram, showing its players Reece James and Enzo Fernandez standing on the bow of a houseboat in Alappuzha with Kai Havertz looking at his teammates.

“Don’t just make it virtual tour. Make it real. A hearty welcome to God’s Own Country, where football is loved as much as life. Enjoy Alleppey, Venice of the East,” Mr. Riyas said on Instagram, extending an invitation to the Premier League club.

Later, the Minister said it was great to see that one of world’s most-followed football clubs making a virtual tour of Kerala and acknowledging its unparalleled beauty. Kerala Tourism would host the visitors as its valued guests and take them around the State that had many joys in store, including die-hard football fans. Just as its scenic charm, Kerala was also known for its deep interest in football. Chelsea commanded a good fan following in the State where football was the most watched and played sport, blurring social and rural-urban divide, the Minister said.

Chelsea selecting Kerala as a place of remarkable beauty would further strengthen the State’s global connect, especially with soccer lovers from all continents. The U.K. was already a big market for Kerala Tourism, Mr. Riyas added.

The image, which went viral, elicited a lot of appreciative comments with fans urging the Blues to make a real tour of the State. Interestingly, former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, accompanied by his wife, Lalla, had joined the world premiere of a three-minute film on Kerala ‘Your Moment is waiting’ at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea in September 2010.

“Kerala is a dream place,” Drogba had said after the screening. Former England striker and Golden Boot winner Gary Linekar, who also watched the film then, had said, “Kerala is a place you want to go.”

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