Kolkata is a football crazy city. People of Kolkata loves their football. Here, everyone has their own story to tell about their love affair with the game. FIFA World Cup is nothing short of a festival for the people of the city of joy. Pannalal Chatterjee and his wife Chaitali Chatterjee is the classic example. It all started back in 1982 World Cup of Spain. On that year, Pannalal and his wife decided to go on a tour of Spain but not for a mere vacation. The middle-class Bengali couple decided to watch the greatest spectacle on the earth from the stands.
Now at 85 with his 76-year-old wife, Pannalal is gearing up to watch his 10th World Cup in Russia. It could possibly be their last World Cup from the stands, feels the veteran Pannalal. It wasn't easy for them, they have made lots of sacrifices, from curtailing their daily needs to living on a bare minimum budget. They saved all the money so that their World Cup fund was never compromised with. The couple will start their journey to Russia on June 14th and will return on June 28th, if they are not able to manage tickets for the Knock-out stages.
They have also applied to the Russian consulate and FIFA organizing committee to provide tickets on the passionate ground. During 2017 U-17 World Cup here, The FIFA local organizing committee had made them special guests of its matches including the final in Kolkata. FIFA had given them grand hospitality during U-17 World Cup matches. They provided a vehicle at their doorstep along with the premium seats, dinner at the venue and media coverage everything was arranged for the couple. Their story also featured on the FIFA.com website during the U-17 World Cup, which spoke about their love for the game and the sacrifices they had to make.
The duo savours each of their world cup journey including witnessing Diego Maradona's brilliance from the stands. They also have a photograph with the king of football Pele.
Like every other Brazil-supporting Bengali couple also watched the 1-7 humiliating drubbing of their favorite team against the hands of Germany in 2014 World Cup semi-finals. It was a heart-breaking moment for them, recalls the couple. They treated every trip to the World Cup like a religious trip. It’s like a holy journey for the couple. Such is the love they have for the beautiful game.
Sincerely hope that Mr & Mrs. Chatterjee will make it to the 2022 Qatar World Cup. The game of football is beautiful because of these beautiful people.
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