KOZHIKODE: A packed women’s gallery eagerly awaits the commencement of a match in the football-crazy ‘City of Joy’. Shot by legendary lensman Ali Kovoor 34 years ago, the iconic black and white image is back in the news after reigning I-League and Women’s League champions Gokulam Kerala FC decided to feature the photo on the team jersey in honour of women’s football.
The image will appear on the jersey of Gokulam for the new season in away matches. Ali Kovoor, who was working with the Chandrika daily back then, had gone to the EMS Corporation Stadium here in January 1987, where the Nehru Cup tournament was under way.
“There was a women’s gallery in the stadium, right opposite the Chest Hospital. When I was about to take a wide-angle picture of the entire stadium, my friend’s wife suggested that I click a picture of the women. They allowed me to move on only after clicking that picture,” he said.
After Kovoor posted the picture on his Facebook page two years ago, it went viral. The picture became a poster for women’s freedom, with comparisons drawn between women’s presence in football matches then and now. “It was an absolute delight to watch the ecstacy of the women in the gallery,” Kovoor recalled.
“We are dedicating the jersey to women’s football. This shows the importance Gokulam accords to women in football,” said FC chairman Gokulam Gopalan.