Soccer-Watching Crowd Changes with Glamorous ISL

The stadium fully packed with 68,000 spectators comprised not only hardcore football-crazy fans but also young children, college students and even women.

Updated: October 12, 2014 22:14 IST
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Priyanka Chopra perfroms at the Indian Super League opening ceremony.

© AFP

Kolkata: As Indian football took a new turn with the beginning of Indian Super League, the crowd profile at the Yuva Bharati Krirangan stadium also changed with a cricket-like craze clearly visible.

The stadium fully packed with 68,000 spectators comprised not only hardcore football-crazy fans but also young children, college students and even women.

For many it was the first time they had gone into a stadium to watch a football match.

"Never before had I watched a game live in the stadium. Sometimes I watch soccer on TV. But this time there is so much of noise about ISL that all my friends decided to come here," said young college student Priyanka Gupta.

Even housewives were not left behind.

"It was a Sunday evening and I thought to come here with my husband because there are so many celebrities and Bollywood stars. I have been to IPL matches at Eden and I know its fun," said 32-year-old Swati Dasgupta.

The stadium wore a new look this evening with 17 screens and after each goal, fireworks lit up the stadium from one side of the ground.

Common at cricket matches, attempts were made by the spectators to create Mexican wave during the match.

Businessman Swapan Das, a die-hard Mohun Bagan club fan, said the essence of a football game remained the same but the crowd and the feel of the game has changed with ISL.

"Sometimes it felt like I was watching cricket. I have been coming here for the last 15 years for I-league matches and I can tell you this is not the typical football crowd you get to see here," he said.

Another football fan and student Abhijeet Chakraborty said with so many foreign players playing with Indian footballers, the game would change forever.

"It is a new beginning for India. I am sure within the next few years we would be able to get our Indian team qualified for the FIFA World Cup," he said.

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