The Durga Puja razzmatazz has left the Spanish footballers and technical support team of Jamshedpur FC in awe.
The foreign players and their Indian counterparts, who are preparing for the Indian Super League (ISL) beginning later this month, visited some of the steel city pandals on Navami evening and fell in love with what they saw.
Aitor Monroy, Sergio Castel, head coach Antonio Iriondo and goalkeeping mentor Alfonso Lacasa visited the pandals at Circuit House Area, Kadma Farm Area and the one adjacent to Tata Football Academy in Bistupur.
The Spanish team members were keen to see the dhunuchi dance.
The devotional dance to the beats of dhaak with earthen pots containing burning coconut husk left them spellbound at the Bistupur pandal.
“The players and support staff enjoyed the dance a lot. They also enquired about its significance,” a JFC official said.
He said the Spanish players had expressed the wish to see more Indian festivals, including Diwali and Holi.
“We will take them to some of the Kali Puja pandals later this month,” the official said.
José Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), a defender who was the captain of the Tata Steel-owned franchise in the last ISL season, said he witnessed a festival in Jamshedpur for the first time and it was “a wonderful experience”.
Head coach Iriondo said it was a matter of great satisfaction for him to have taken part in such an important event for all Indians.
“I could understand the religious importance of Goddess Durga being worshipped by the people,” he observed.
Castel, a forward with great scoring skills, said it was a novel experience for him.
“The atmosphere and the vibe were amazing. It was a great way to connect with the people and culture of Jamshedpur,” he added.
Fellow Spaniard Monroy said he learnt a little more about the Indian culture.
“The lights and the pandal décor along with the people in traditional wear was a delight to watch,” the Jamshedpur mid-fielder recalled.
Lacasa said he was overwhelmed by the love with which people received them.
“We are very fortunate to be able to share moments like these with the people of Jamshedpur,” Lacasa added.
The Indian and Spanish players also wished Jamshedpur resident on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami.
Earlier, the JFC squad met and interacted over lunch with club chairman and Tata Steel vice-president (corporate services) Chanakya Choudhary at Beldih Club.
Jamshepdur will clash with Odisha FC in their opening tie at JRD Tata Sports Complex on October 22.