The buzz over the Qatar World Cup has not declined in Kerala even after ten days from the conclusion of the tournament. Qatar World Cup is much more than one of the most celebrated football events in history for fans from Kerala. It has brought international recognition for the football fans in Kerala, who have a great pedigree of century-old hardcore fanaticism for the game.

Kerala embraced the game around two and half decades before Independence. The Britishers introduced the game to the Keralites and they passionately absorbed it as a tool to at least defeat the colonist on the ground. The state has been following the game passionately since the pre-Independence period and technology has helped them to closely follow the game around the world. Footballing greats like Pele and Maradona have popularised the game even among the women and children in their generation in Kerala.

The craziness of Kerala towards the game was slowly recognised by the western world. The English Premier League (EPL) clubs were one of the early teams which understood the potential of the fan base in Kerala. The clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea used their social media tools to address and wish the Kerala fans on special occasions. FIFA has also recognised the huge potential of India in marketing the game and they have given special attention to Kerala fans. The FIFA documentary, Maitanam-the story of football in Kerala with the caption caption “Football is love. Football is life. Football is everything in the heart of Kerala”, is one of the perfect examples of the fondness of the federation towards Kerala.

An event, where the world has turned all its focus, become an excellent opportunity for Kerala fans to show they are no less than any Latin American or European in loving the game. Though Kerala has had a considerable fan base for the game for many decades, the world has recognised much authentically during the Qatar World Cup. The stage has added so many favourable elements to the Malayali fans to show how much love they have for the game. The proximity of the venue from Kerala, a huge expatriate presence and the success of their favourite team, Argentina paved the way for them to become one of the most celebrated fanbases of the tournament.

“There are many similarities bridging Kerala and Latin American countries. The music, movies and ideologies are even matching the ones of Malayalees on a different level. Passion for football is the most common thing which connects us with Latin America. The world has recognised this passion and the teams have now aware that the people in Kerala are closely following the game”, said A N Raveendradas, former sports editor of Deshabhimani daily.

The huge population in India is one of the main reasons for attracting so many teams to create a fan base here. They have understood the genuine passion of fans from Kerala and have eyes on them to extend their wings in the market. This interest would be the reason behind publishing a poster with the Kerala art forms to announce the restart of EPL on their official social media handles.

Apart from this, the national teams and FIFA have already been stunned by the craziness of the state in welcoming the tournament with eye-popping cut-out wars. FIFA and even a player like Neymer Jr have shared it on their social media and the world got an opportunity to learn the passion of Kerala. This has been affirmed with the acknowledgement of the Argentina Football Association thanking the Kerala fans soon after their world cup win.

The EPL has showered gestures of consideration for their Kerala fans on several occasions. Chelsea and Arsenal, two of the leading teams in the tournament have wished Kerala fans during Onam. Many players in the EPL have also joined their team’s interest for the Kerala fans on festival times.