For many years, 1.2 billion people of India have been ridiculed for not being a part of the biggest spectacle in the World of Sports. We are obviously talking of
Wrestlemania FIFA Football World Cup, the recent edition of which just concluded in Brazil with the Germans coming up triumphant against the Argentinians.
But what many people don’t know is that Indians have been secretly taking part in the competition since many years contributing to the success of their ‘adopted’ teams.
The most recent example being the German World cup winning team, also known as Die Nationalmannschaft, which had as many as 4 players with Indian origin.
The most famous one after scoring the Winning Goal is Mario Gotze, whose Great Grandfather fled India after his Uncle was sentenced to death for the assassination of the great Indian Leader Gandhi. After running from India, the family took shelter in Germany where they changed their names from Godse to Gotze to start a fresh life.
One more person who can stake a claim in having a great World Cup, Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, won the Golden Gloves award for his fantastic goal-keeping. What is unknown is that he begin his adult life as a Coconut Seller in Kerala, Mangal Nair, who accidentally landed in Germany while on his way to the ‘GULF’.
Then there is Per Mertesacker, whose ancestors had Sugar Factories in Maharashtra ( Saakhar = Sugar in Marathi) and Bastian Schweinsteiger whose forefathers moved from the Shivaji Nagar area in Pune to Munich but adopted the germanised name of their homeland.
Among these story of magic, is the tragic story of Marco Reus, who couldn’t play in the World Cup due to the Injury suffered during a friendly match before WC. His Great-Grandfather Manjunath Rao also escaped the country with Manjunath Godse. Since childhood Mario Gotze and Marco Reus have been best friends and destined for a great future. How Romantic would that have been!
And if you thought Indians only took shelter in Germany, then you are WRONG.There are players like Iker Kashidas who captains Spain under the name of Casillas and Juan Mata from Himachal Pradesh.Kaka of Brazil and Nani of Portugal from the Naxalite areas of what is now known as Chattisgarh, are a couple of other famous
Indians Footballers to have played.
One also cannot forget Neymar JR who plays for Brazil. People assumed JR stand for Junior but it is actually a sly reference to his grandfather, Jagan Reddy from the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh !
Then there is Shinji Kagawa, from Arunachal Pradesh who was taken captive by the Chinese in his childhood days and sold to Japan in exchange for a few bullet trains.
If only some of these players had chosen to stay in India, may be we could have seen India play in a football World Cup.
Till then, we will continue to support ‘our’ heroes. Hail Hitler !