Cut-outs of Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. stand tall in Kodagu villages
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Cut-outs of Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. stand tall in Kodagu villages

November 20, 2022

Excitement building among fans at Gaddehalla and Kadanga as FIFA Qatar World Cup begins today

Kushalnagar: With the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup beginning today, the world is set again after a gap of four years to witness the biggest and the most celebrated football festival and the game fever has reached every nook and corner of the globe. The FIFA World Cup will kick off in Qatar tonight (9.30 pm) with 32 teams battling for the highest honour in the month-long international football.

While the football mania has taken the neighbouring Kerala by storm where the game is close to the hearts of the people with hundreds of clubs at small and remote villages, the hill station of Kodagu too is gaining attention with a group of football lovers from remote village of Gaddehalla erecting huge cut-outs of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. in the village, attracting attention.

The cut-outs of seven-time Ballon d’Or winner (annual football award presented by French news magazine France Football since 1956) Messi from Argentina, Portuguese legend Ronaldo and Brazil star Neymar Jr. have been erected at Gandhi Circle at Gaddehalla. While Neymar’s cut-out is 15-ft, Ronaldo’s cut-out stands tall with 30-ft in height and Messi’s cut-out too stands tall with a height of 35 to 40 feet.

Cut-out at Kadanga too

Soon after youths of Gaddehalla near Suntikoppa erected the cut-outs of their idols, youths of Kadanga, another village in Kodagu erected a 30-ft cut-out of Ronaldo near the Kadanga Bus Stand Circle. Meanwhile, the Messi Fans Association in the village too are giving a final shape to the cut-out of Lionel Messi and it will be up when the World Cup begins. One more cut-out of Messi has been set up at Suntikoppa town.

Neymar Jr. will be playing in his third World Cup and Brazil is considered one of the favourites to win the tournament. This is his best chance to come out of the shadows of his two superstar peers — Messi and Ronaldo.

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“We, the members of CR7 Fans, decided to erect the cut-outs of the three legends due to the attention they are receiving. Moreover, there has been so much talk about Messi and Ronaldo who are likely playing in the World Cup for the last time. Their memories will be cherished for a long time and it is our way of honouring them,” Zayid Abbas of Amity United Football Club and a die-hard fan of Ronaldo told Star of Mysore.

R-Day Tournament

Amity United Football Club was established seven years back and the club has 40 members between the age group of 15 to 35. “We are one among the 23 registered Football Clubs in Kodagu and apart from playing regularly in our own village and in the district against other clubs, we also travel to Kerala for tournaments,” he added.

Of the seven years, the club members just played tournaments for two years and in the last five years, they have been organising tournaments for Republic Day. “In 2023, we are organising a three-day tournament on Jan. 24, 25 and 26 and it will be floodlit football. We are aiming big and we are working out plans,” Zayid Abbas said.

Players of Amity United Football Club, Gaddehalla in Kodagu. The Club has 40 members.

60 trophies to their credit

Players from Amity United Football Club have won over 60 trophies in matches held at various places. “Unfortunately, we have received no encouragement either from the Government Sports Department, District Administration or the Sports Authority. We do not even have a proper ground to play. In fact, there is no football ground for that matter in Kodagu,” he regretted.

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“Kodagu has over 23 registered Football Clubs and in each club, there will be a couple of good players and we can easily have more than 100 best players who can compete in State or National level Tournaments. The best among the best can represent India internationally. It is stifling and painful to see the neglect. The focus seems to be only on cricket while other sports are brushed aside,” he added.

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