KOLLAM: Come Thursday, the world will shrink to the size of a football as World Cup matches kick-start in Russia. But ‘Brazil’ Sudheer in Kollam has already taken his fight to the rival camp of ‘Argentina’ Roy by painting his two-storey house at Pallimukku, a car and scooter in Samba colours. He also plans to take his car to a rally in connection with World Cup opening celebration.
Not to be left behind, team Argentina is also planning to take on the yellow jerseys with their own hoardings, posters and paintings. But they do admit Sudheer did catch them off-guard with his yellow spread.
Sudheer and Roy are part of the 75-member strong Stadium team, who divide themselves as Brazil and Argentina sides and have been vying each other often at the Lal Bahadur Shastri stadium ground here for the past 20 years. Sudheer captains Brazil, while Roy is the Argentina skipper.
Sudheer wants yellow jerseys to make amends for their humiliating semifinal exit in the last World Cup, a fact the Argentina camp stresses at every available moment. “I want my team to win this time and I’m going all out to support them,” Sudheer said. He has even agreed to tonsure his head if Brazil fail to win the Cup. “It’s any day better than wearing their (Argentina’s) jersey,” he said.
Sudheer plans to take his vehicle to the ground where the Stadium team will show the matches on a big screen. Responding to the taunts, La Albicelestes (The White and Sky Blue) fans have pasted Argentina flags on their vehicles. “The boys have started work on hoardings, posters and paintings to be placed around the stadium. Sudheer will be in for a surprise when he brings his car to the stadium,” said Sooraj, the acting captain of Argentina side.
“Sudheer has been trying to woo youngsters to his camp. But they know it’s the performance that matters. Argentina has relatively new faces. But they are strong and can beat Brazil to win the Cup,” said Roy, joining in the friendly banter. He plays as a defender/goalkeeper while Sudheer is a forward. Though the teams often play matches, the rivalry between them peaks during World Cups.
The team members engage in banter, serious debates and bets over a bunch of bananas on match days. They fight it out on social media too. Both teams are hoping for a title clash. They have already made plans to celebrate their team’s triumph with cakes in their team colours.
Sudheer’s car is adorned with the faces of Brazilian players such as Neymar, Marcelo, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus and Casemiro along with greats Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos.“Who can beat us,” screams a slogan on the car. “I’ve been painting my cars in Brazilian colours for the last five World Cups. This time I extended it to house and scooter,” said Sudheer. Roy, who runs a hotel in the city, too had experimented with Argentinian jersey in the past.