Over the past 30 years I’ve must have seen well over a hundred football matches live from the stadium and can clearly remember some goals that just made me go wild – I mean jumping around like an excitable monkey hugging random strangers sort of wild. This is the beauty of football, it is an on-going build-up and when that goal finally arrives emotions just leap out of you from every pore.
I experienced this quite a bit this past I-League season whenever my club, DSK Shivajians FC, would score but that excitement would always be tamed as I would typically sit in the VIP box with executives from the club we were playing against and it’s not respectable to show too much happiness at the expense of others. Also, my team was notorious for giving up last second goals this past season so no matter how many goals we scored I wouldn’t get too excited until the final whistle.
I didn’t have to worry about either of the above during the India vs Colombia match – India’s second match in the 2017 U-17 FIFA World Cup group stage. I was strategically sitting far from the VIP box watching the match in the stands with some of my good friends and I didn’t care if India let up any last minute goals as all I wanted them to do was score.
From the kick-off, India was playing much more aggressive than they did against the United States and were much more confident on and off the ball. Colombia did score but even then everyone in the crowd felt that a goal for India was coming. Finally, in the 82nd minute, the goal happened. It was a fantastic header off of a corner kick thankfully on the side of the stadium where we were sitting.
I don’t remember the actual goal that much though, what I remember (and will never forget) is the eruption of the crowd after that goal was scored. 50,000 people just jumping around like they each just won the lottery, hugging, dancing, whistling, some even crying. I get emotional just thinking back to those moments and feel so blessed that I got to experience it all live, inside the stadium. This goal wasn’t just the result of an 82 minute build-up, no this was the outcome of a 70 year build-up – the amount of time India has been its own country out to show the rest of the world that it can compete with the best at any walk of life.