Saturday, December 6, 2008
The people of Kolkata are suffering from an epidemic. Alarmingly it has gripped the city in no time whatsoever. From young to old, from rich to poor, from Hindu to Muslim everybody is bugged by the virus, the virus called Maradona-mania. Yes, the prince of football, the greatest in the game, the FIFA footballer of the century is in town and the city of joy has reasons to be joyful once again.
Diego Armando Maradona reached Kolkata early on Saturday morning only to be received by thousands of fans enchanting his name all through the journey from the Airport to his hotel, The ITC Sonar Bangla. The city seemed painted in blue and white and resembled more like Buenos Aires than the usual red/green flower clad city that we are accustomed to. Why not? This man and his art on the football field has enthralled one and all. He has inspired and mesmerised everyone who has ever seen him play. He led his nation to consecutive World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990, winning it in 1986. Arguably the greatest player ever gracing the game and the term arguable is only coined by the fools who dare to argue.
Traditionally the people of Kolkata are loyal fans of the Latin American nations Brazil and Argentina. On every occasion where there is a confrontation between these arch rivals, the loyalties are shared in this far off city. Though the Brazilian fans are fans of the style of football that they offer, the fans of Argentina are only Maradonians. They were inspired to watch and follow international football because of that one man. And now to see their god right in front of their eyes, they are simply awestruck.
Truly if Diego Maradona is god, Kolkata for one day today was heaven.
Posted by Sumit Roy at 1:41 PM