“Football is always their first love. We come only after that,” say the wives of the footballers who created history with their Santosh Trophy win in 1973. The wives of all the players had come together on Wednesday for the felicitation ceremony of the 1973 team members as part of Goal 2013.
During the historic win, many of them were still unmarried and some of them were in school. “During those days, as there was no TV, we were able to see the photos and the match details only in the newspapers the next day. But still they were famous, and to have a footballer as a husband was a proud feeling,” says Sarala B Nair with a smile. Wife of Babu Nair, Sarala got married barely two months after the Santhosh trophy win.
Over the years, their life has moved fast with games. All of them are now mothers and some are even grandmothers. But, some things in all their lives have never changed and one of this is the constant chatter of the football all around. “At home, the talk is all about football, football and football. The conversation always runs into the old memories of the games, the grounds and the players. Even with the TV, it is always about watching football. So much so that today he has brought three TVs at home so that he can watch his game in peace without any distraction by us. Even at his office his employers are left with no choice but to get himself a TV whenever there is any important football match,” says Kshama Devanand, wife of B Devanand.
The love for their games has also meant that many of the wives have to take up additional family responsibilities. “They are so used to the free life centred around their game that, often it is difficult for them to give adequate attention to the daily details of the life. So wives will have to take care of family chores,” says Shylaja Ravindran, wife of G Ravindran Nair.
But there is one thing that they appreciate among the husbands and that is the discipline they have maintained throughout their lives. The ladies note that in spite of all the odds, the players have maintained strict regimen of waking up in the early mornings, going through with their daily exercises and football games.
“This commitment to the game is something which we don’t see in the younger generation. Now the game has become more about the job that you secure after your games. Once that is done, it is the end of football. Nobody even wants to play after that,” says Shylaja.