Pall of gloom over Malappuram

Youngsters fixing a poster bidding adieu to football legend Diego Maradona before a commemorative session on a football turf at Melmuri, near Malappuram, on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Sakeer Hussain

MALAPPURAM The death of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona brought a pall of gloom to the football lovers of Malappuram district. Never before were they so saddened by the passing of any other sports personality. Not even boxing legend Mohammed Ali, who was widely rated as the most popular sports person to walk on earth.

For the football lovers of Malabar, particularly Malappuram, Maradona’s 1986 Mexico World Cup was a game changer. “The football craze as we witness today in Malappuram began from the Mexico World Cup in which Maradona was the star. We owe it to Maradona. He was primarily responsible for injecting the spirit of football into the veins of Malappuram,” said Shoukath Uppoodan, convener of the Malappuram Football Lovers Forum.

Under the banner of the forum, Mr. Uppoodan and friends gathered at Kunnummal Junction and commemorated their super star by lighting candles on Thursday evening. Maintaining COVID-19 protocol, they reminisced how Maradona sowed the seeds of football as an art in their minds.


Several football clubs and football fans groups across Malappuram grieved the passing of Maradona. Youngsters abandoned their day’s play in football turf here in honour of Maradona. Many fixed posters in goal posts bidding adieu to the football legend. Banners sporting Maradona stood out amid electioneering posters at many places. Maradona was a passion for the football lovers irrespective of their affiliation to different countries.

“Malappuram has fans of all footballing nations. But cutting across those differences, they are mourning the death of the legend,” said Super Ashraf aka Bava, State general secretary of the Sevens Football Association (SFA). “Had it not been for COVID-19, we would have had a huge gathering of football lovers mourning the passing of the legend.”

In most places, the ongoing political debates and discussions over local body elections gave way to the legend. “I have never seen Malappuram so moody over the death of a person,” said Mr. Shoukath.

People of Malappuram used to celebrate Argentina with white and blue stripes each time Argentina played a major tournament. Although Argentina has not won a World Cup since 1986, most football lovers of Malappuram still continue to be Argentine fans. “For the people of Malappuram, football is truth, and truth football,” said Mr. Ashraf.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 5:24:58 AM |

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