Goa roots for Portugal in World Cup footballJune 20th, 2010 - 6:54 pm ICT by IANS
By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar
Panaji, June 20 (IANS) Legendary Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama would be a proud man if only he could come back from beyond to Goa’s shores once again, with the erstwhile Portuguese colony in the throes of World Cup football fever these days.
Like in the case of most World Cup and European Cup tournaments before 2010, Goa has painted itself red and green, the colours of the Portuguese national football team.
Thousands of fans, both lithe athletic youngsters and generously pot bellied, beer swilling mavericks, flaunt Cristiano Ronaldo-style football jerseys with equal ease.
So why does Goa still root for Portugal, which is not really a top football team - despite the solitary presence of Ronaldo in the team now and Luis Figo in the past - in the presence of teams like Brazil, Argentina and Spain?
“Everywhere you go, you can see the Portuguese influence - in our houses, in our lifestyle, in our dancing, in our music, cuisine - why should football be any different?” asks back Savio Messias, secretary of the Goa Football Association (GFA).
He supports Portugal but is also a diehard fan of the Argentinean gentle-genius Lionel Messi.
There are others like Titus Cruz, who breathlessly gush and swear by the Portugal team, which does have several talented players like Deco, Simao, Ricardo Carvalho and Maniche, apart from Ronaldo.
“Viva Portugal. Portugal has the greatest players, they rock!” Titus screams.
Brandon Fernandes, a 16-year-old rising football star from Goa who has been chosen by a South African football academy for a two-year-long training workshop, also picks Portugal as his favourite football team. But then Brandon also appears to have learnt the art of playing it safe and adds Brazil to his list of favourites.
“My favourite teams are Portugal and Brazil,” he tells IANS.
The patrons and football fans will probably be served fried and curried frog legs (illegally, of course) in the numerous nondescript bars and taverns spread across rural Goa to be munched along with beer, as they watch football matches relayed live on television.
Entrepreneurs like Vito Gomes are trying to cash in on the football frenzy by telecasting it on big screens along with other live entertainment modules, for a fee of course.
“There are also a lot of people who don’t play the sport, yet are ardent fans of the game. During the World Cup, hordes of football fans sporting jerseys of their favourite teams go out to restaurants, pubs and match screenings to catch their teams battle it out on the football field. A majority of Goans support Portugal which can be attributed to the Portuguese influence on our past,” Gomes said.
Portuguese dictators may have colonised and ruled Goa with an iron fist for more than 400 years, but centuries of ill-will is forgiven, especially while watching a sublime swirling free-kick by Ronaldo, curling the jabulani ball past the outstretched hand of a rival goalkeeper, brushing the underside of the cross bar and kissing the net!
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Benefica may soon play with Goa soccer team - Aug 30, 2012
- Portugal need victory against tough North Koreans - Jun 20, 2010
- Goa's 'Tuberculosis' Cunha fought colonial Portuguese cancer - Dec 18, 2011
- She puts Goan culture on Portuguese TV - Apr 22, 2010
- Spain and Portugal lock horns in first World Cup meeting - Jun 28, 2010
- Goa freedom fighters protest celebration of Portuguese arrival - Nov 11, 2010
- Portugal destroy North Korea with sparkling football (Second Lead) - Jun 21, 2010
- Brazil break Indian hearts after shocking exit - Jul 03, 2010
- Goan expats want state to host mini-NRI football World Cup - Jul 16, 2012
- Chettri to play for Sporting Lisbon reserves (Roundup) - Jul 05, 2012
- Bhutia is honorary member of Portugese players' association - May 20, 2010
- Euro 2012 Group B Preview: Many challenges in Group of Death - Jun 05, 2012
- Chhetri signs for Sporting Lisbon reserves for a year (Lead) - Jul 05, 2012
- Queiroz leading next Portuguese generation (Group G team profile) - Jun 01, 2010
- Portugal seek Round of 16, and some revenge, against Brazil - Jun 24, 2010
Tags: explorer vasco da, explorer vasco da gama, favourite football team, football academy, football fever, football jerseys, frog legs, gentle genius, lionel messi, luis figo, national football team, portugal portugal, portuguese colony, portuguese explorer vasco, portuguese explorer vasco da, portuguese influence, ricardo carvalho, south african football, vasco da gama, world cup football