Legend never dies
As the news broke that the laureate of the world's greatest earth show has left for the land of no return, I got stunned for a while. But as soon as I came to senses, every image of that melodrama started floating on the mirror of my mind. I returned to the night I left 34 years back in a room where my grandfather, me and my cousins gathered before a black and white TV set; when this ever moving planet seemed to have come to a standstill for a few minutes in the orbit.
The magic of two feet of a man not a big one but mighty with a ball not only changed my impression about a game, also introduced the world with a new philosophy of the game in addition to the concept of `power football' and `total football'. In fact, the game became more than it is itself in his feet.
The English who were suffering from complacency of occupying Falklands from Argentina just 4 years back found them totally outclassed and dumbfounded by an almost one-man show of a heart winning prince of billions in the battle of Estadio Azteca, Mexico, 1986.They must never forget Diego Admando Maradona. As long as the game will exist in this world, this name will chase them as a nightmare. The example of football he set with distinctive style of dribbling, dodging and supersonic speed in ramming into English defence can only meet in dream. Since then every time the world became gripped with soccer fever every time the highest Fahrenheit of its temperature remained Maradona.
And it was Maradona again in the 1990 World Cup in Italy who showed that as a game of glorious uncertainty the appeal of football is no less when my favourite team Brazil was surprised by Argentina in the knock-out against the course of the match by 1-0 at the fag-end. Both the teams possess the art of rhythmic Latin football that earlier gifted the world with players like Pele, Andrade, Garrincha, Vava and Shiaffino.
Brazil left nothing untried to win the match. Unless luck betrayed Brazil that day, Argentina could have suffered a huge blow. I can remember that almost 80 minutes of the match, Argentine defence was busy in tackling repeated artilleries likeDunga, Alemao, Branco, Careca and Muller. One attempt hit the left post another was tipped onto the right post by the goalkeeper with Maradona remaining fused under strong Brazilian surveillance. Just a few minutes before the final whistle, Maradona somehow got the ball in the midfield, set off on a run in a counter attack and sent a mathematical pass between Brazilian defenders to the rushing Caniggia. And that was all to eliminate the three time champion from the race.
A `Hand of God' in the field, Maradona was not above humanely deviation. His off the field activities and addiction in cocaine and alleged involvement with Mafia hit the headlines regularly even after his retirement from field. The life that he lived in coexistence of fame and infamy, vice and virtue, I am sure will equally remain the focus of all attention even after his death.
Sensation that was created surrounding his football genius moved our local football emotion too. Our stadiums began to become full to the brink with football loving crowd. The excitement that arose among our spectators around club football, especially match between Abahani KC and Mohammedan SC was not less appealing than Brazil and Argentina. Sadly, the dream and expectations burgeoned surrounding our football then failed to come true. The minimum standard our football had at that time went down day by day. Our football was supposed to be at least as better as our cricket.
Although he has finally been intercepted by the very law of nature at 60, he will be survived by his countless fans. Legend never dies. Wish his soul rest in peace. Pele rightly said that he would play with Maradona in the sky.
The writer is poet