Mumbai Meri Jaan 〜 90 Minutes among Local Football Supporters
*** Mumbai Meri Jaan = Mumbai my life
You never miss Oval Maidan in the heart of South Mumbai. A vast grassy field surrounded by Mumbai's landmark, colonial buildings --- Bombay High Court, Bombay University, Rajabai Clock Tower to the east and Art-deco style residential buildings to the west.
You can see people playing cricket all day long.
The number of cricketers is quite impressive especially during weekends.
No wonder that cricket is "worshipped" in India.
Just cross the road to the south of Oval Maidan, there is Cooperage Stadium, I-League's local football team Mumbai F.C.'s home ground.
Founded in 2007, Indian professional football league I-League's seasons run from January to May.
11 teams are registered in it.
*** New football league, Indian Super League (ISL)'s inaugural season's games were held from October to December 2014. Among 8 teams of ISL, there is Mumbai based Mumbai City F.C., home ground is DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
(Please see my past post "The ISL --- Football in the Kingdom of Cricket").
I love watching football games and I have already been to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for Real Madrid's games, also to Parc des Princes for Paris Saint Germain's games, so I-League game, why not ?
I bought a ticket at the box office of the stadium on the match day.
Most Expensive VIP seat with snack box, it costed me.....only 150 rupees ! Really !?
150 rupees is only 2.1 Euros, or 2.3 USD !
I went into the stadium, picked up my snack box and took free seat in VIP zone, next to a elderly woman dressed in sari.
" My grandson plays the game tonight.", she said proudly.
In European stadiums, sometimes the supporters nearby are the matter, apparently, it was not necessary to worry about it in Mumbai.
Mumbai FC's supporters. Many families, couples, friends.
Female supporter was not rare. I even saw Scotish girls' group on that day.
Frequent supporters ? Or friends of Mumbai born player Jayesh Rane ?
In fact, most of the spectators were in VIP zone. In opposite East stand, only some group of children were there (it costed only 50 rupees).
Finally, quite familial and friendly atmosphere, absolutely a safe place.
Pizza vendor was selling veg or non-veg pizza in stand for only 100 rupees a piece.
To say the truth, I did not familiar with Indian football at all.
On match day, Mumbai FC was not one of the higher ranked club among 11 teams in I-League.
My impression was, they still had long way to get to world class level.
The game was OK, Mumbai F.C. won 2-1 to the visitor team Royal Wahingdoh F.C.
Overall, in spite of defeat, I found that Royal Wahingdoh was more solid, and better-organized.
A Mumbai midfilder drew my attention --- No. 11 <TAISUKE>, a Japanese player !
He did not touch the ball at the beginning of the match for about 20 minutes (if I have good memory...), so I thought, he could have communication problem, as it was sometimes the case of Japanese players who played in foreign clubs.
Then I realized that it was not Taisuke, but passing accuracy/coordination of the team was not in good level on that day. And Taisuke started to contribute to the team's ball possession from some point on, by repeated ball hawking. What a hard worker !
*** Taisuke Matsugae : Midfilder, transferred from Japanese J-League 2nd division to I-League Shillong Lajong F.C. in 2013 where he played one season then transferred to Mumbai F.C. in 2014.
*** I-Leagues's foreign player restriction : limited to 4 players, three non-Asian and one which must be Asian. Mumbai F.C. signed a Brazilian (Josimar), a Nigelian (Wali), a Afghan (Hatifi), then a Japanese (Matsugae).
Taisuke won also "Man of the Match", bravo !
After the victory of Mumbai F.C., I bought club's jersey, it was sold at only 350 rupees (4.8 EUR / 5.4 USD) ! A Real Madrid or PSG jersey would cost me 85 Euros (95 USD / 6085 INR).
Mumbai F.C.'s jersey : club is sponsored by "Playwin", a online lottery firm.
*** "Khel" is a Hindi word meaning Game / Sport / Play
I enjoyed the evening, nice local experience.
Go Mumbai ! Go Mumbai F.C. !
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