Raj Kumar Mithilesh Sinha
India is a cricket dominating country. Here cricket is a religion and Sachin is a God, But for me it is Football that drives my nerves. I follow this sport ardently just like a staunch, passionate believer of any faith. As it is said : ‘’Cricket is known as gentlemen’s game but Football is a men’s game. Here one will feel the passion, anger and love.’’ And I love this beautiful game.
It was Sunday and the date was 17th June 2012. The scorching heat of Delhi compel anyone stay inside, but I was absolutely in a frenzied state to witness the historic moment I was waiting since long. It will not be an exaggeration if I say it is the best day of my life. I saw my favorite football star Didier Drogba in reality before my eyes. Former Chelsea striker and all time top scorer of the Côte d'Ivoire national football team is a living legend for his country and for his Club. I hurriedly got ready and was soon riding my Enfield towards Tyagraj Stadium.
Drogba helped his team to qualify for its first ever World Cup, held in Germany in 2006 and he helped his Club Chelsea to lift Uefa Champions League, as he played a leading role in Chelsea's Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich. Drogba was appointed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a Goodwill Ambassador for his previous charity work.
After winning the Champions League for Chelsea, Drogba became the ultimate star for his fans. Every fan wants to catch a glimpse of his face. Drogba’s visit to India was the part of Pepsi's first football campaign in the country.
I was very excited as it was a life time opportunity to see my idol.
Tyagraj Stadium is far away from my home. After reaching the stadium, I called up the guy who messaged me previous night in FB regarding the Passes. That guy came and offered me three Passes. He said, ''Enjoy the Game ''. For few seconds, I was totally out of this world as the person who offered me Pass had never met me before; even I didn't know his name. It was a strange happening but somewhere inside I was feeling great as if I was in cloud 9, but one thing was common between us that we both love this beautiful game and we both support Chelsea FC.
After getting the Passes, I entered into the stadium with my friends. The stadium was packed fully. It seemed like all football fans in Delhi gathered in “One Place”, cheering for football and their Legend Drogba. Somehow we manage to sit in the VIP Lounge as it was near to the arena. The atmosphere was simply rocking; music was mind blowing and the crowd was amazing. Arrangements were perfect. It was coupon system. In one coupon you would get Pepsi or mineral water, Pizza or Sandwich, and chips or biscuits.
It was T20 Football championship .There were eight different teams participated in the competition. All teams were winners of their respective states and cities. It was 20-minute match and the winner was decided on the same day. The winner of that T20 Football championship would be coached by none other than Didier Drogba, and that team will play against Indian Cricket team coached by Indian Football legend Baichung bhutia. Pepsi India Brand Ambassador Ranbir Kapoor was also the attraction of the game.
The whole show was hosted by MTV VJ and DJ Nikhil Chinnapa. The show began with the entry of the first celebrity, Delhi boy Virat Kohli; the whole stadium started chanting VIRAT…VIRAT…. Soon Ranbir Kapoor entered into the stadium, followed by MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Murli Vijay and Baichung Bhutia.
The programme was full of entertainment. The solo performance by drummer Shivamani, eye-catching performance by cheer girls, free style football in desi beats, and with live football game; it came as a perfect cocktail dinner with stars. Fans with their mobiles and smart phones were busy capturing each and every moment of the day as if no one wanted to miss those precious moments. It was overwhelming and enchanting experience.
Besides all these stars in one platform, the audience was still waiting anxiously for one person; and at last he came and the whole stadium stood up and starts chanting DROGBAaaaaa..DROGBA aaa, …DROGBAaaa... For few moments I felt I am in Wembley, watching live football game. The legend was given a standing ovation. He showed his hands towards fans and his first sentence was- “Good to see Indian Chelsea fans here … after Champions League..’’
After completing his speech, Drogba met Baichung, Indian cricketers and Ranbir Kapoor. He was immediately surrounded by media persons and photographers. He shared his views with some Indian fans and showed some football skills and technique. It was really nice watching Drogba and Baichung playing with future Indian footballers well-supported by Indian cricket players and Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor. The stars before our eyes appeared to be like ‘Taare Zameen par’ in reality; It was a proud moment for all Indian Football fans in which eminent players and personalities came together in one stage to support single cause ‘promoting Football in India’.
These are the unforgettable moments of my life. I captured each and every moment in my camera. These moments are for lifetime which would always be alive and vivid in my memories.