Herald: To Russia, for the love of the game
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To Russia, for the love of the game

14 Jun 2018 06:04am IST

Report by
KARSTEN MIRANDA

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14 Jun 2018 06:04am IST

Report by
KARSTEN MIRANDA

Passionate football fans, six childhood friends, and one dad, travel to Russia to watch World Cup


PANJIM: In what can be considered to be a bucket list moment for a group of friends hailing from Salcete, six of them and one of their fathers have landed in Russia to watch the World Cup.

Football has always been a passion for these guys who have often met up to play together, be it in school and college, and also keeping tabs on the latest in the world of football. While some are based in Goa, others elsewhere in India and in UK, the group has kept in touch and planning this trip together to the World Cup seemed perfect, giving them an opportunity to combine two passions and fulfill a childhood dream of watching the World Cup live.

From Loutolim there’s Zester Rodrigues (aero engine performance engineer), from Fatorda there is Ankur Pant (senior business manager), from Aquem there is Jayesh Gaad (digital marketer), from Comba there is Frederico Miranda (doctor), from Chandor there is Clinton Furtado (clinical trials monitor – pharmaceutical) and from Curtorim there is the father and son duo, Mariano 

Fernandes (retired) and Jonathan Fernandes (chief officer).

As the build up to the World Cup beings, these boys are touring the place as they wait for the much anticipated Portugal vs Spain game that will have a huge following back home as well. “We’re all going to be  watching the Spain-Portugal game in Sochi on the 15th spending another day there and leaving back for Moscow on the 17th,” says Zester.

“The atmosphere in Russia has been exciting. All around the major monuments there are throngs of people carrying around flags of their favourite nation,” adds Jayesh.

Speaking about the atmosphere, Clinton observes that the pre-match activity and arrangements are being put in place and as the World Cup approaches, fans from around the world seem to be pouring in Moscow.

Jonathan further adds that there is a lot of good banter between fans and recounts their experience with young Iranian and Moroccan fans who shared their excitement. They predicted match scores and everyone seems to be in high spirits.  Describing the ambiance, Ankur referred to the active culture scene with music on the streets, interesting cuisines from Vietnamese to Thai to Arabic to continental and how everyone seems to be having a gala time.

“We are putting up in hostels, which allows us to meet different people. We managed to bump into some German and Australian fan. Haven’t met any Indians yet but some of our friends who travelled from Delhi said the plane was full of Indian soccer fans travelling for the World Cup,” adds Jayesh.

While the group is putting up at hostels mostly, they are spending most of their time outside the hostels and enjoying the interacting with people from all over the world.

“Language has been a pain since the alphabet is completely different. We had to rely on Google translate. However, we did come across some helpful people trying to assist us on our journey. Sign language was also commonly used to get our thoughts across,” adds Zester.

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