The number of supporters and viewers of this beautiful game are increasing rapidly in India. Today we have many websites, many social networking sites, blogs and even some dedicated news program only on Indian football in regional news channels. But the scenario was not similar in mid nineties.
It was very hard to find news regarding Indian football in newspapers except the news related to the Kolkata derby. Sometimes the result of India’s international matches used to get ignored or used to get published in a small corner of the last page. In late 90s the things started changing slowly. A few good men came with lot of love and passion for the game and really they made the necessary impact required to turn the trend for over 2 decades. Lets have a look on them.
Back in April 1998 indianfootball.com was founded by a young Bengali named Arunava Chaudhuri who was born and brought up in Remcheid, Germany. The site was a breath of fresh air in Indian football. It was a breather for fan like me who used to get suffocated by other sports news. It became the face of Indian football to the world.
Apart from founding the website Arunava Chaudhuri used to arrange camp for Indian colts in Germany. He made all the past records, photographs, videos available to the database of the site. The site was full with news, interviews, guest columns, live match updates and streaming. All of a sudden though Arunava shut down the site due to unknown reasons (the actual reason is still unknown to me).
“You will never walk alone” that is the famous saying of Liverpool FC but have you ever heard “you will never feel alone?” No that is not a slogan or one-liner of any football club but that is what I exactly felt after joining Indian Football Fans Orkut community. The total number of members is 31806 till date. All the fanatic football supporters came together and started contributing with their thinking, information and opinions. There were so many arguments, so many fights but the spirits were always high.
As all the people gradually started to shift to other social networking sites, the Orkut community was brought to an end. Though still few people access the community and contribute to the forum to keep it alive. This community was just like a family of Indian football. If there was no live coverage for an international match someone would definitely get some link that we all could watch.
Indian football fans had almost everything. They had their community, they had their groups on Facebook but something was missing, a site of our own was very much required. A site where they can write, share and have their own say. Indianfootballnetwork.com arrived to fill that void. It is a blog-site as well as a forum where football fans can interact with each other. The entire core member of Orkut community joined overnight and the site become the new face of Indian football fans. This site is the best thing happened to Indian football fans in recent past. People contribute here happily; the actual incentive is other’s appreciations. Hope the site will last long and the fans will keep contributing to Indian football.
Last but not the least we have Novy Kapadia and Late Noel Da Lima Leitao. The duo was a deadly combo in the commentary box in late nineties for various sports channels. Novy with his vast knowledge and information about Indian football always enriched fans, listening to him actually help a football fan enrich himself. Noel was a brave heart with his straight forward commentary and his wit always added an extra flavor to the match. Noel’s death was a blow to the fans and a loss to Indian football too. We all miss him. His contribution will always be remembered.
These few good men brought a real change to reporting, blogging, networking and commentary to Indian football. Before finishing I would like to mention a special thanks to all the fellow members of the Indian Football Forum and to all the fans for being so active and informative all the time.