We eat, play, love football!

How the capital and its neighbours are soaking in FIFA fervour

  • Published 23.06.18

From happy anticipation and a shared dream to acute emotional polarisation after every match — no sporting extravaganza is as high on passion as the FIFA World Cup. The fervour of the 2018 football carnival in Russia has travelled nearly 3,000 miles to Ranchi and how. Fans have formed “country clubs”; clubs are loosening purse strings to celebrate the beautiful game; hotels are dribbling delectable menus; and sports associations are hosting parallel leagues to cash in on the enthusiasm. The Telegraph brings you the highlights

Sporting team jerseys and face tattoos, chartered accountant Vinay Vibhakar and his friends cheer for Portugal during the match against Morocco in Ranchi on Wednesday. Pictures by Manob Chowdhary

Foodbowl Carniball

Breaking news: Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino is swearing by paneer tikka and Portuguese forward Cristiano 
Ronaldo has taken a particular liking for fried fish. Well, you can always pass on such amusing titbits if you are at Heroes, the restaurant at Radisson Blu that has whipped up an enticing menu after FIFA stars.

So, there is (Mexican striker Javier) Hernández’s free kick winglet, Ronaldo’s back volley fried fish, (Uruguay striker Luis) Suarez’s murgh tikka, (Columbian midfielder James) Rodríguez’s attacking satay, (Spain’s Jesús) Vallejo’s defender kadak kebab and, of course, Firmino’s paneer tikka.

“We are celebrating a ‘Foodbowl Carniball’ in this season of football carnival,” said Saurav Kumar Sushil, assistant manager of the hotel that has festooned with flags of World Cup countries. “Happy hours start from 3pm and continue till 11pm. There are discounts on certain beverages,” Sushil added 

Heroes restuarant at Radisson Blu in Ranchi sports the World Cup theme

Portugal passion

A group of 18 diehard Ronaldo fans are hosting matches with refreshments at their homes on rotation basis. 

On June 20, when Portugal beat Morocco 1-0, chartered accountant Vinay Vibhakar’s hosted his 17 mates at his residence on Circular Road. They all bled red for Portugal in team jerseys and face tattoos. 

“Whenever a Portugal match is scheduled, I dismiss my half a dozen staff early. And, unwanted calls are a strict no-no,” 
Vibhakar said, adding that the next host is selected by lucky draw.

On June 25, when Portugal play Iran, Praval Goel — another chartered accountant — will play host at his Ratu Road apartment. “The match starts at 11.30pm, but we don’t mind. We are sanguine of a great show!” Goel said.

Ranchi Club that is screening matches outdoors

Club class

When it comes to soccer love, can the landed gentry be far behind? Ranchi Club is screening important matches outdoors so that its members can enjoy the FIFA extravaganza while clubbing. “Our focus is also on the weekend rush,” said Sandeep Kapoor, president. Sushil Lohia, secretary of Gymkhana Club, said they were showing all matches 
over food and drinks 

The football league in Khunti being kicked off on June 20

Desi league

The Ranchi District Football Association has kicked off a month-long league in Khunti, the first such event in that district. 
Chandradeo Singh, secretary of the outfit, said the association recently earned state affiliation and decided 
to organise the league amid the Cup fever because not every household has a TV.

“The league began on June 20. Matches are free for all to watch at Birsa Football Stadium in Khunti every evening. We have put up posters of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to inspire the players,” he added