Are you a true football fan or a Pakistani football fan?
In Pakistan, summers usually have a few trademarks. These include myriad lawn brands, juicy mangoes, skin infections and a never-ending spree of load shedding. This year, however, a peculiar viral disease hit the urban areas of Pakistan in form of the FIFA World Cup 2014.
Pakistan is not amongst the ‘big boys’ in football and the national team has never qualified for World Cup matches, yet the football fever still, somehow, hits Pakistan each time there is a football tournament taking place. The English Premier League has only recently attracted a substantial number of followers from Pakistan, but people have been following the World Cup for a long time now. The difference is that Pakistani fans follow football in their own, unique way.
So here is a list of 11 different types of Pakistani football fans you are sure to come across. Before you take out your pitch forks to get me, this list has been made purely for fun and is not meant to offend anyone.
True football fans
These are the purest football fans. They actually know the game and actually love it. They follow the game throughout the year, not just during tournaments, and have a special spot in their hearts for the teams they support.
Whether they win or lose, these guys support their players through it all!
The Facebook supporter
Since the arrival and growth of social media, many new football fans have surfaced who show their support primarily via their status updates and tweets. These fans change their Facebook display pictures to either the logo of their favourite football team, or the flag of their favourite nation, or their favourite player’s picture.
Even if they have zero knowledge of the dynamics of football, they will make sure to update their Facebook status or Twitter feed commenting on everything they can see or think of.
We are an emotional nation and, as such, we tend to attach our feelings with everything; football is no exception to this. If a Pakistani fan follows a team, and the team doesn’t do well in some match, then be prepared for emotional rants flooding your social media timelines.
You’ll come across abuses hurled at the players and see a barrage of comments about the opposition team. During this social media crusade, you will also come across the occasional declaration of how the referee was completely unfair when he sprung the yellow card on their favourite player; these guys don’t understand when and why the yellow card is used in the first place. They shall continue talking about the match even after days have gone by, sobbing and whining over why they ever liked their chosen team in the first place.
This is the football faction of the ‘ghairat brigade’. They do not believe in following football. Why? Because Pakistan is not playing. Their arguments are usually simple:
“I don’t like/follow a game that doesn’t have my national team in it”
“Why should I waste time on it? Pakistan has a lot of other issues that need to be focused on, instead of watching 22 idiots running around a useless ball!”
However, this year, this type produced a sub-type which I like to call the Brazuca fan boys. These people do not know a single thing about the Brazuca or what makes it so special but they like it anyway and cannot stop admiring it because it was made in Pakistan.
You must have seen status updates like:
“Yeh Messi ka nahi iss Pakistan ki bani football ka kamal hay. SubhanAllah kya shandaar gend hay”
(It is not Messi’s talent – it’s that Pakistani football that’s doing wonders. My God, it’s such a wonderful ball!)
The seasonal fan
They start following the World Cup just because their friends follow it. They pick up their favourite team depending on the team their friends like (or the players they like to watch).
They hoot for what their friends are hooting for and they cheer for the player their friends cheer on. Basically, they just follow these matches to make sure that they are not left out during post-match discussions and get-togethers to watch a game at a friend’s place.
These are the fans that only follow football during the World Cup or the Euro Cup. As a result, they have little idea of the developments that have taken place in a particular team. You will often hear them complaining about not seeing the players they saw four-years-ago; little do they know that those players probably retired right after the last tournament.
They struggle in catching up with all the new updates they have missed out since the last time they watched a football match. Also, these fans have little idea about the different football clubs that play throughout the year.
They are loud, not because they know a lot about the game but because that’s just how they are. They try to show that they are true lovers of the game and follow it with full passion. They exhibit their passion by jumping around and shouting at their television screens whenever there is a foul. Also, they celebrate a goal as if they themselves have scored it. These are the ones who play football songs with loud volume during the football season and write ‘goal!’ as their Facebook statuses with an unnecessarily large number of ‘Os’.
The financial-humanitarian expert
These fans are incredibly critical of the salaries received by footballers. They spend time criticising the large budgets allotted by the team for their players and then they make a comparison of what the players get and what they end up delivering. According to them, they criticise because the same amount of money could have been used to serve humanity and social causes – all the while sitting in an air-conditioned room, sipping an expensive coffee and eating from some foreign fast food chain.
The jersey boy
Due to brand oriented shopping, many Pakistani football fans tend to buy football jerseys of their favourite players or merchandise of their favourite football team.
Wearing jerseys or owning merchandise of your favourite team does not necessarily mean you know about the game or the players in the team for that matter!
I confess. I belong to this category. We are football trivia buffs – we read articles on football, listen to the experts on the game, follow analysis and even browse Wikipedia articles about the game, its history, the clubs, the players and the likes.
With all this knowledge, we put Facebook statuses, spread tweets and pitch into the discussion to show how genius and clued-up we are – even if we haven’t watched the actual match under discussion.
The zenana fan
Gone are the days when only boys used to follow and love football; now, even girls follow the game and some of them actually know a lot about it. But there aren’t very many girls who actually know about the game. Most of the zenana (female) fans only talk about how good looking a particular player is and how “hot” the game is.
Everyone has their own way of celebrating and following a particular event, and in sports, it is particularly fun to see how people take up different forms to enjoy this beautiful game.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.