Nepal prisoners win World Cup goalJune 10th, 2010 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, June 10 (IANS) A Hitachi projector from India, a giant 16 ft x 10 ft screen, inverter backup and new carpeting, Nepal’s Kapilavastu Jail is set to come alive to the excitement of the Football World Cup - thanks to the efforts of prisoner Rishi Kumar Shrestha.
Slapped with a life sentence for the inadvertent killing of his abusive stepmother when he was only 22, Shrestha is currently serving as a prisoner-guard inside the Kapilavastu Jail in the Terai plains, once part of the ancient kingdom ruled by the clan of Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
“I am a football diwana,” Shrestha told IANS. “This is my last year in prison as I am going to be released after serving 10 years.”
So to celebrate the event in style, Shrestha persuaded the prison authorities to install the giant screen in the sprawling 40 ft hall inside the prison, paying for the entire venture.
“My elder brother Sushil is a cook at the Sheraton Hotel in Dubai,” Shrestha said. “He sent the money.”
A Hitachi projector bought from India across the border and a Tata Sky direct-to-home system has been installed to bring the excitement, suspense and joy and sorrow of the world’s most watched game straight into the remote Nepal prison when the tourney kicks off Friday.
That’s not all.
Keeping in mind the erratic power situation in the Himalayan republic, an inverter has also been acquired so that residents of the prison can watch the matches uninterrupted. The giant hall has been newly carpeted so that the viewers can sit on the floor and watch the match in comfort.
There’s more to follow.
Since prisoners, including Shrestha, are allowed to stay outside their cells only from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. but must be back in their respective dormitories after that to be locked up for the night, all the 141 inmates have chipped in to buy four television sets so that they can watch the matches inside all through the nights.
There are six dorms and two more TV sets were donated, one by a former police superintendent and one by the district administration.
While Shrestha is rooting for Argentina, his peers mostly support Brazil, Spain and England.
Though Britain fought battles with Nepal in the past and even though unable to colonise it, like India, managed to wrest away considerable chunks of territory, Nepalis support the English team because it has “young and talented players”.
The Kapilavastu phenomenon is just one indication of the football mania in Nepal, where the Football World Cup by thousands more than the Cricket World Cup.
All over the country, TV companies have been reporting brisk sales. So are shops stocking football jerseys and other soccer memorabilia.
Hotels, restaurants and pubs are also looking forward to roaring custom from Friday with some having been redone to resemble stadia, some installing giant screens and some coming up with new innovative menus with a World Cup theme.
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