Football fever peaking in Malabar

November 18, 2022 11:19 pm | Updated 11:19 pm IST - MALAPPURAM

Students of the National School of Fine Arts, Manjeri, who painted their faces with the flags of their favourite football teams.

Students of the National School of Fine Arts, Manjeri, who painted their faces with the flags of their favourite football teams. | Photo Credit: SAKEER HUSSAIN

The football World Cup fever is at its peak in the State, particularly in Malappuram. Football lovers in general are dedicating themselves for the game by way of heralding the Qatar World Cup in one way or another.

From raising flags, hoardings and cut-outs to painting their bodies with the flags of their favourite teams, the fans are trying desperately to outdo each other in their enthusiasm.

Unlike the previous editions of the World Cup, this time there has been a war of cut-outs. Youngsters across the State have been competing to outsmart one another by raising the biggest cut-outs of their favorite footballers. Lionel Messi stood tall, followed by Christiano Ronaldo. Those who raised a 50-ft cut-out of Messi at Tanur claimed that it was the tallest.

Several vehicles, particularly autorickshaws, cars and bikes, were painted in Brazilian and Argentine colours. Wherever they moved, they stole the gaze of the people. “That’s exactly what we want. We want people’s attention not only to the World Cup, but to our team as well,” said Abdul Rahman, a hardcore Brazilian fan from Manoor.

Some painted their houses in Brazil and Argentine colours. The Brazil-Argentina rivalry is kept hot by the fans, in spite of their friendships. Bets are galore among fans. And the stake in most cases are Arabian dishes, particulary Kuzhimanthi. A Brazil fan in Malappuram has promised all Argentine supporters full meals of Kuzhimanthi if Argentina wins the World Cup.

The youth organisations of major political parties, including DYFI and Muslim Youth League, are also engaged in football fanfare. They took out road and water rallies, wearing jerseys and waving flags of their favourite teams.

Almost all schools, particularly government and aided schools, organised some programme or other in connection with the World Cup. Some held Argentina-Brazil dream finals, and some others held quiz competitions. Several schools organised football matches and clubbed them with the ongoing anti-drugs campaign.

PKMM Higher Secondary School at Edarikode, one of the biggest aided schools in the State, held a football match between its teachers. The students cheered on as the teachers fought for Brazil and Argentina.

With one more day to go for the kickoff, football lovers of Malabar are leaving no stone unturned. The Football Lovers Forum of Malappuram is organising a World Cup history quiz, a shootout, and a musical evening on Saturday.

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