The 2022 Qatar World Cup craze is on another level in India. Even though the country’s first love is Cricket, some privileged Indians are doing all they can to enjoy the tournament.
Indeed, the 2022 Qatar World Cup will certainly be an indelible competition in the history of the FIFA World Cup following the glamorous tides surging from football lovers across the world, especially from countries that will not be competing in the tournament.
Futballnews has gathered that many football lovers in Kerala, India will be traveling to Doha to grace the upcoming World Cup tournament as it unfolds tomorrow, November 20.
An Indian native Hashir Ali and eleven of his friends will embark on a long journey from the city of Kozhikode in the southern state of Kerala in India to Doha, the capital of Qatar to watch the World Cup actions live.
Meanwhile, six months ago, in a rush not to be left out of the FIFA World Cup actions, the Indian civil engineer and football lover Mr. Ali bought tickets for the World Cup fixtures through his friend in Doha and has been waiting for the “big moment” ever since.
The 55-year-old soccer-mad civil engineer, Mr. Ali, and his 11 friends will fly to Doha for the World Cup action, where they will stay for 10 days to watch the matches live.
“It’s a dream come true to see my favorite players in action,” Mr. Ali told the BBC as he packed for his flight.
Mr. Ali also took with him a gift for the World Cup organizers; a dhow with flowers of the participating countries drawn on the mast according to a report by the BBC.
Meghna Unnikrishnan, the woman who designed the artwork, told BBC: “We painted images of all eight stadiums and flags of the participating countries on a soccer ball along with other icons.”
“It took craftsmen almost a month to build the teak-carved dhow, and I and three other artists completed the drawings in two days,” she adds.
A genuine fan of Argentina star Lionel Messi, Mr. Ali will be watching the World Cup matches live for the first time, hopefully, to see the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner steer his Argentine side to victory.
Ali said: “Thank God [the World Cup is being held in] This time Doha and all eight stadiums are within a 10 km (6 miles) radius. Otherwise I couldn’t even dream of it,”
Aside him, other several fans in India, who are die hard football fans will also be travelling to watch the World Cup tournament as it unpacks tomorrow.
Some Indian passionate fans are expected to travel along with Ali from Kerala, Kolkata city in the eastern state of West Bengal, and Kolhapur region in the western state of Maharashtra.
Being the second most populous country in the world, many think that India is underrepresented in the world’s most famous sport of football since the Indian national team falls at 106th position in the FIFA rankings.
The last time India qualified for the World Cup competition was in 1950. Since then, they have never made it close to the tournament.
They refused to take part in the competition, partially because it would have meant their normally barefoot team would have to wear football boots which seems bizarre to them.
However, the country is famous for its passion for football every time the World Cup takes place. India’s football fans do crazy stuff to show their love for the sport and support their favorite international teams.
Many of the fans would purposely save up for months just to travel to the host countries to watch World Cup fixtures; host fun games wearing their favorite team’s Jersey, predict who will win the trophy, and stage colorful processions to celebrate their team’s victories.
In the neighboring Malappuram district, the 2022 Qatar World Cup craze started six months ago with seven football matches featuring prominent local soccer teams.
Players of each team wore the shirts of their favorite countries; France, England, Argentina, Brazil, Holland, Germany, and Portugal in the seven-a-side matches.
Moreover, Indian fans also erected a 30ft tall statue of Lionel Messi in a river in Kozhikode. Not to be left out, Christiano Ronaldo and Neymar fans took the challenge to post cutouts of their idols.
These unusual upswings to the river attracted a lot of media and even FIFA’s attention.
The 2022 Qatar World Cup action will kick off tomorrow, November 20, and one of the fascinating things to crave for is the sound of India’s traditional drums as some traveling Indian fans will hopefully cheer their favorite teams beating these drums to show their support.