For the next game, I was made the team captain by Salyan dai, the title I held for few more games before I had to come to Finland for my higher studies. I am still called ‘Captain dai’ by few of the team members and I think it will remain with me for life.
Football has been an integral part of my life, be it playing or watching the beautiful game. While growing up in a small town of Bharatpur, watching football was limited to only international matches (World Cup, Euros or SAFF). We had a few channels for sports and the majority of them used to show cricket. Therefore, growing up I was more into watching cricket than football.
At the turn of millennium, there were more sports broadcasters and some of them began to show club football. Though I did not follow club football at that time (aged 13), however, I was aware of clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid from my friends whose father were either in British Army or Singapore police. For me, it was my older brother who influenced me to follow Chelsea FC. He used to watch every Chelsea game that was broadcasted and stayed up late on mid-weeks for Champions League games despite repeated scolding from our mother to sleep early. That is when I was attracted to Chelsea FC and the love for the club has never been less since then. The year it all started was early 2004.
When I came to Kathmandu for my +2 studies, I had to stay in a hostel. I could not watch any games but I used to follow the news about the results via newspapers. It is in the hostel that I met another Chelsea enthusiast, Dhurba Poon. We used to discuss about football related news, mostly about Chelsea. Only football I could watch the entire year was when I went back home for my holidays.
The following year my family shifted to Kathmandu and I moved out of hostel. I could enjoy all the games again. During my Bachelor’s studies, I met another Chelsea enthusiast, Kiran Dahal (The current president of Chelsea Nepal). Meeting another Chelsea fan was a rare event as there were few of us at that time. Whenever Chelsea was playing, Kiran and I would discuss the game sometimes. It was Kiran who introduced me to Chelsea Nepal.
I was happy to be a part of the family where everybody followed and had same passion as me for Chelsea. Through this group I have met some good friends and made few bhais and bahinis (being an old member). I became more active in the group after I joined the football team of Chelsea Nepal. When the group decided to make a football team, I did not hesitate to enrol for the love of the game and an opportunity to play with fellow Chelsea fans. Though the training sessions by Salyan dai were excruciating, it was a fun experience. It was here where I met most of my bhais Motu, Sagar, Rajat, Sanjay, Ashish, Dipesh, Rojit and few others (Sorry if I missed some names. Getting budo).
I remember when it used to rain, most of the guys would not show up for training. I and whoever came to training would go to nearby Mahankal temple and have a cup of tea. We would discuss about the Chelsea Nepal team, the group, and Chelsea FC. Those were the days. The first match the team played was against a Manchester United fan club. Though I scored a goal (Probably the first goal of Chelsea Nepal), we lost the game on penalty shoot-out. For the next game, I was made the team captain by Salyan dai, the title I held for few more games before I had to come to Finland for my higher studies. I am still called ‘Captain dai’ by few of the team members and I think it will remain with me for life.
Being a Chelsea fan has not been an easy job. There have been many ups and downs throughout my time following Chelsea. Though I had enjoyed all the domestic triumphs, we still had not won the Champions league trophy. So, when we came close to winning the title in 2008, it was going to be the best moment as a Chelsea fan. When John Terry approached to take the shot, my heart was beating at the max. But then the tragic moment happened……. It has to be one of the worst moment for me as a Chelsea fan. It took us another 4 years before we were in final of CL again. I watched that match with Avisek Keyraat at his place. And when Didier Drogba scored the final penalty all hell broke loose. We were shouting like crazy at the middle of night. Chelsea had finally done it and were champions of the Europe. That has to be the best moment when John Terry and Frankie lifted the trophy. Hope Chelsea will do the same again soon.
Being a Chelsea fan, I have gained more and more everyday. A club to support, some new friends for life, few brothers and sisters and a new family to cry and smile with. One life.One love.One Club.
Jay Chelsea! Jay Nepal!! Jay Chelsea Nepal!!! KTBFFH!!!!