Kolkata couple get ready to watch their 10th WC
Kolkata: When the soccer crazy Kolkatans got first taste of live television coverage during the Spain World Cup in 1982, Kolkata-based couple Pannalal and Chaitali Chatterjee decided to take a step further.
The middle-class couple decided to watch 'Greatest Show on the Earth' from the stands enjoying Paolo Rossi's predatory skills. It started the couple's memorable journey watching the beautiful game.
Now at 85 with his 76 year old wife, , which he possibly feels will be last from the stands.
"I will be nearing 90 in 2022 and there's little hope that we would make it to Qatar for the next edition," an emotional Pannalal told PTI from their small flat in a narrow bylane at Kidderpore.
The decision to visit every World Cup came with hundreds of sacrifices, from curtailing on food they liked, to always living on a shoe-string budget, and making sure that their 'World Cup Fund' was never compromised with. Travelling in a group of seven former Custom Club footballers, the couple are slated to leave on June 14 and return on June 28, if they are unable to manage tickets for knock-out rounds. They have also written to the Russian Consulate and the FIFA Organising Committee requesting more tickets on passionate grounds.
The FIFA local organising committee during the Under-17 World Cup here last year had made them special guests in each of its matches including the final in Kolkata.
"We have managed to buy only three tickets this time. We have requested FIFA for more tickets. But they have not yet responded. We are still hoping to get a few more." "FIFA had given us a grand hospitality during the U-17 World Cup matches here... There was vehicle at our doorstep, premium seats, dinner for us at the venue and also arranged media coverage," the Chatterjees, who are travelling with a budget of Rs 5 lakh, said.