21 Feb

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This ease has produced what researchers call the "Google effect. you get the drift Brazil fans celebrate at the end of their team’s FIFA U-17 World Cup round of 16 win over Honduras in Kochi Getty Images For the past fortnight the support for Brazil has been ubiquitous not just in Kochi but also the rest of Kerala On 7 October when Brazil faced Spain in the first match of the day the attendance at Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium was just over 21000 with some fans coming all the way from Thiruvananthapuram and Mallapuram district a four-hour drive away A few hours later when Niger took on North Korea at the same stadium the attendance was barely 2500 Three days later when Spain faced Niger in Kochi the attendance was just about 7900 But by the time of Brazil’s clash with North Korea later in the day the crowd had doubled Many a fan had simply hung outside the stadium during the first match of the day and only made their way inside for Brazil’s match Brazil coach Carlos Amadeu even admitted that they had been feeling like the home team in Kochi before adding: “It’s really important for us to have the crowd on our side We want to give back the love that we received from you” Kerala’s near religious support for Brazilian teams is hardly a new phenomenon Dust the cobwebs off history books and many examples of fanaticism tumble out The fan in Thrissur district who painted his villa canary yellow during the 2014 World Cup The fan who tonsured his head after Brazil lost in the 1998 final against Franceand kept it that way until they won the Copa America title in 1999 The fans who offered pushpanjali at the Guruvayoor Temple for Neymar after he picked up a back injury during the 2014 World Cup "A few years ago we even read in the local newspapers about a fan somewhere in Wayanad district who had killed himself when Brazil got eliminated from the World Cup" recollects Sambu Kumar one of the admins of a Facebook page called ‘Brazil FANS Kerala’ which came into being in 2012 and currently boasts of over 23 lakh followers Kochi fans express their love for Vinicius Junior Image courtesy: Facebook/Brazil FANS Kerala “When Brazil won the 2002 World Cup some 50 or 60 of us took out a procession for nearly eight kilometres in Chethallur village in Pallakad district The idea was to celebrate the victory as much as it was a show of strength aimed at those few rival fans who support Argentina in that village” Sambu adds "We originally started off as a fan group in Kerala During each World Cup we would rent out venues to hold screenings for fans which would attract hundreds of people who would turn up wearing yellow jerseys But with the advent of social media we ventured into this" adds Nazar Pattithadam another admin of the Brazil FANS Kerala page Both Sambu and Nazar currently live in the UAE but ensure that the page is updated every few hours Even news of the Brazil female national team is updated on the page such is the need of the page’s followers to know everything that goes on in a country over 14000 km away In recent days the page has been flooded by pictures — not to mention a handful of videos — sent by followers from Kochi’s JNI Stadium while the Brazil U-17 team has been playing But what explains Kerala’s undying obsession for Brazilian football "It’s a bit like blind faith" reasons CV Pappachan who played for India in the 1980s and 1990s even captaining the national team for some time "The state’s love for the Brazilian football team began during the 1982 World Cup when the team had the likes of Zico Socrates and Falcao playing in their ranks Back then leagues like the Premier League and La Liga were never shown on TV Football was just a once-every-four-years event from World Cup to World Cup But it gained the stature of a festival in Kerala "Of course the local newspapers too played a role They wrote extensively about the Brazilian team which got people to start supporting them Of course the fact that Brazil played with a lot of flair and won a lot of trophies back then helped" Nazar points out that many of the current Brazilian fans are ones who started following the sport during one of the country’s most dominant eras “I was 13 back in 1994 when Brazil had won the World Cup Four years later they lost in the final to France However they clinched the following edition That phase made us addicted to Brazilian football Players like Ronaldinho Ronaldo and Kaka are like gods for us” he says That explains why when Ronaldinho visited Kerala in February 2016 to inaugurate the Sait Nagjee Cup the admins of the Brazil FANS Kerala Facebook page took out a three-day roadshow across Pallakad Mallapuram and Calicut districts However the current Brazilian team is not the all-conquering giant it was at the time of Ronaldo and Rivaldo Yet the support for the team in Kerala seems to be as unflinching as it always was Just like with everything else in Kerala there’s a parallel to be drawn with Malayalam movies popularly known as Mollywood "People in Kerala go to watch Malayalam movies because of stars like Mohanlal or Mammootty It doesn’t matter to these fans whether the movie has got bad reviews has a poor script or has terrible production values Mohanlal or Mammootty fans won’t care about their last movie being a flop either All they care about is their favourite star is in the movie That’s enough to draw them to the theatre Fans in Kochi cheer for Brazil Getty Images “Similarly people still love Brazil and just its name is enough to draw people to the stadium They associate the U-17 Brazil team with the team of old — the one they first fell in love with They don’t care about the current ground reality about Brazil being thrashed 7-1 by Germany in a World Cup in their own home Even the fact that the biggest name in the current U-17 Brazilian team Vinicius Junior is not here doesn’t matter to these fans" reasons Pappachan Pappachan points out that for many people supporting Brazil is a tradition that has been passed down generations "Many of the current Brazil supporters are fans of Neymar The fathers probably started the craze in the house by falling in love with players like Zico or Socrates Of course in 1986 Maradona awoke us to Argentina But the craze for Brazil endures" New Delhi: CPI leader D Rajaon Tuesday termed the political-tactical line of the CPM "self-contradictory" and said it was "impossible" to maximise rallying anti-BJP votes without any understanding with the largest Opposition party: the Congress File image of Communist Party of India leader D Raja (L) AFP He said it was not possible for left and democratic forces to defeat the BJP all alone without the Congress "The tactical line of the CPM is self-contradictory If they want to maximise the pooling of anti-BJP votes without any understanding with the Congress that is not possible How can they say that they want to defeat the BJP but not have any understanding with the largest opposition party Congress" Raja told PTI The CPM in its draft political resolution released on Tuesday has said that the main task of the party will be to defeat the BJP and its allies by rallying all secular and democratic forces but it has to be done without having any understanding or political alliance with the Congress party "If they can cooperate with the Congress inside and outside Parliament it means the Left is having an understanding with the Congress against the BJP" he said Raja said that in Gujarat Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where the Congress is the main force to defeat the BJP left and other democratic forces will have to have an understanding with the Congress He also highlighted the fact that in the last assembly election in Bihar the Left went all alone but it was the RJD-JD(U)-Congress alliance which defeated the BJP The Left leader emphasised that the need of the hour is to have a state-specific tactical line and the CPI(M) should understand the political situation in the country "That is what we are pointing out There can be difficulties in some states But this can be addressed at that point of time keeping in mind the specific political situation prevailing in those states The CPM should understand that there is need to chalk out state-specific electoral-tactical line" Raja said The CPI leader said that keeping in mind the future of the country the Left should try to have the broadest possible platform along with all democratic parties at the national level to defeat the BJP "We should try to have the broadest possible unity of all left secular and democratic forces in which obviously there will be a place for the Congress" the Rajya Sabha member saidS.

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