On a busy afternoon, the elites of the national capital were mostly cooling their heels in their boardrooms and AC cabins when a number of people decided to have a date with football at the Ambedkar Stadium, the venue of the 55th Subroto Cup.
From Delhi Metro labourers, who wanted to relax after a heavy dose of tunnel digging in the nearby ITO, to officials from Embassy of Indonesia, who did their bit as they cheered for a school kids from Jakarta’s Raghunan Sports School in a foreign capital.
“This is the first time our team had participated here and our supporters, staff and the students will be coming on Wednesday (the day of their team plays the quarter-final),” said Suhartano, who handles administration at the Embassy of Indonesia at Chankyapuri.
Accompanying him is Vidya, another embassy member, who had an interesting story to share about her Indian name. “Many Indonesian people use Sanskrit, many provinces in Indonesia used to speak the language. Also in historical times the Majapahit kingdom in Indonesia spoke Sanskrit,” she said.
On being asked about embassy’s role in assisting the players participating in the tournament, she said their role starts from felicitating the visitors from the point they land in Delhi and includes things like providing communication assistance etc.
She said the embassy plans to muster huge support for the visiting Raghunan Sports School who are going to take on NCC on Wednesday.
“No, nobody is coming from Indonesia, but all who belong to the community, who stay in Delhi, like students or anyone who is married here, they all will come.”
She added that the embassy has promoted the event on social media and through text messages.
“We are connected via social media like Facebook and Twitter, sometimes the embassy holds gatherings, we had promoted this event through text messages; we also have an association of Indonesian students studying in DU, they also help spreading the word.”
Akbar, who too rooted for his countrymen on Monday and works in the embassy, decided to utilise his free time watching football.
“First of all, this is the sport I had played since I was born, and I am very eager to support the game back home in Indonesia. I expect in next 10 years we will find an Indonesian superstar,” he said.
“This tournament is also a very good chance to make a name, not for the youngsters of Indonesia but for India as well.”
Suhartano, the logistics controller, is optimistic on the future of the sport in the country.
“Things gradually will change. I see this collaboration of the game with sportstars like Sachin, Industrialist like Ambani. This is a good time for football in India and I hope Subroto Cup will also grow. It is now limited to under-17, we hope next year it will be a little big.”