While watching Premier Legue, La-liga or Bundas League if you have been fascinated by the fans and the atmosphere in those matches and ever felt like being there and watching it live, I suggest you to go to Kochi for a KBFC match. Because, the way they welcome you and the love they have for KBFC and football are unmatchable.
I have been following ISL since the first season. I have been noticing not just the players and their performance but also the audience reception to those matches. In the first match, ATK registered a record attendance. Later on, at the end of the tournament, Kerala blasters had registered the highest average attendance. I observed that the reception at Kerala is so huge and passionate. They have an unmatchable passion for football may it be local or International. They compare their stadium at Kochi to Barussia Dortmund. Their loyalty to Kerala Blasters FC is ritualistic. They call themselves Manjapada means yellow army. There are so many manjappada units all around the world.
It was always my dream to watch a KBFC match in their home stadium. Because I wanted to experience that energy from the audience. I planned to go there in the second season but I couldn’t because of my studies.
During the third season I ended up landing in Kochi in the most unexpected way. I and my friends had planned a trip to Delhi. It was a last minute plan, But, since the central govt announced demonetisation, we had trouble getting train tickets and the bus fares also had hiked dramatically.
We didn’t know what to do. Suddenly I thought about the ISL match that was going to happen between KBFC and Chennai. We immediately checked the bus fare to kochi, it was affordable . And we boarded the bus and travelled to kochi.
We reached kochi on 11th November and the match was on 12th. On 12th evening when went to the stadium we were excited to see the crowd at the entrance of the stadium- there were people of all ages from 5 year old kids to old people. Most of them were in yellow jerseys and had painted their faces yellow. Some of them were wearing Zidane mask. Even we bought yellow flags and ribbons.
There were people from different corners of the state who had come there in groups. There were people from other states as well.
Inside the stadium the atmosphere was electrifying. Most of us couldn’t speak the local language. But the locals were so friendly to us and spoke to us in between the match. They seemed so happy about the fact that we had gone there to support their team. I could feel the feeling of oneness which let us easily mix with them. The only thing that mattered was if we were for Blasters or against them.
Every KBFC fan in the stadium seemed to be breathing the same energy which no words can describe enough. The stadium felt like chorus of nearly 60 thousand people shouting Sachin Thendulkar’s name, and also the team’s name.
When Chennaiyin fc scored goal in the first half the electrifying atmosphere just vanished and there was sad silence all of a sudden. A few chennaiyin fans were mocking at KBFC fans after the goal.
But kbfc showed a dramatic comeback in the second half. Kadio scored a goal in the middle of second half and the local boy CK Vineeth scored 2 spectacular goals at the end. By this time, the cheerful shouts of the people had reached sky high. They were expressing joy in all possible ways. And I could literally feel the ground beneath my feet shaking.
To avoid any unpleasant situation inside the stadium, the police had already come and stood around the Chennai fans.
The stadium shaking was one unforgettable experience from match. We were tensed but everything went well. According to officials, the attendance was 54,000. But I felt that it was more than that.
And after the match I could see so many broken chairs, a guy fell from his chair right in front of my eyes after jumping on it with excitement.
His leg struck through the seat and was stuck inside. He was laughing with joy even after he hurt his leg from that fall.Now it is up to you to imagine how many others might have fallen. So, now you know Football match in kochi is like a celebration.