Being a Football fan in Pakistan is very different from being one in the Europe. You do not have proper promotional club meetings here and neither cafes nor clubs dedicated to promoting football yet the popularity of the sport in Pakistan is gaining momentum every day. There was a time when you would hardly find any football fans here and those who existed were international football fans. However now, you can even find fans of clubs which were literally non-existent here a few years ago.
Since we do not have places to sit and watch football together with fellow fans, Twitterdoes that job for us. If you are not a football fan, you should avoid going on your timeline during matches because it becomes a hyper place. From live commentary to analysis of shots, from substitution suggestions to labeling the referee as biased, you just get to see everything on Twitter.
Tello, I like your shooting but please keep it inside the Earth’s atmosphere.
— Moeed Yousaf (@MoeedYousuf) March 30, 2013
Apparently football grew more popular on Facebook first but it is Twitter that has been bringing fans together for quite some time now. Fans from all over the country get involved in the sport and you occasionally see Pakistani fans getting replies from international stars.
Mom: Kal test hay beta Me: Mama please. Kal United ka match hay -_- Mom: aik tau yeh United nay jaan kha maari hay :’)
— Haroon (@M_haroon11) April 13, 2013
@RidaaMehtaab Hey Rida! We don’t forget about any of our members! Playing football this weekend?
— Team Messi (@TeamMessi) October 12, 2013
@RidaaMehtaab Arsenal Magazine pic.twitter.com/oRCERvSrhP
— Always Arsenal (@HFooty) January 27, 2014
Since there are rival fans here too, banters occasionally do light up your timeline causing more of a war when other fans get involved too. You get to see a lot of heat during the transfer period when rival clubs go behind team favorites or during rivalries matches.
Dou cheezoun se darna chaye. 1- Allah se 2- Paul Scholes ke screamer se
— Akram Ten (@Gullessi) August 21, 2013
The latesttrend is of accounts of clubs that tweet in Urdu. Though they are not official accounts but I promise that they will make you chuckle. Popular ones include @BarcaUrdu which is “Surkh aur neealy sipaahio ka Urdu mein khaata!” and @RealMadridUrdu which is the “Asli Madrid ka Khaalis Urdu Khaata! Peecha Kijiye!”.
Levante ne apni Niazi Express khari ki hui hai peechay, hum kiya karay?
— Barça Urdu (@UrduBarca) January 19, 2014
It was during the football league in Karachi in which different colleges from within the city took part that I realized how much people have been craving for this sport in Pakistan. Those matches were live tweeted by a number of tweeps who are football enthusiasts in Pakistan. Also, every time Pakistan’s football team is shown playing on TV, you would see a lot of people watching them play because truth be told, they wish to support their team as well.
However, the beauty of all this is not the retweets or the replies but the passion of these youngsters that keeps them loyal to their clubs. The loyalty these fans show is far more different than the Europeans because these people live thousands of kilometers away from London, Manchester, Madrid or Barcelona, but they will be always equally passionate about the clubs as the locals are.
Football might just not be a sport for people on Twitter here after all.
Rida Mehtab is a Chemical Engineering student at NUST. She believes that Manchester United Football Club defines her life and keeps her going. She also loves writing and covers football news for a website. She tweets as @RidaaMehtaab.
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