Blue Pilgrims, the dedicated fan club of Indian football, is set to unveil a special 3D banner during the final of the Hero Intercontinental Cup between India and Kenya in Mumbai on Sunday. A member of the Blue Pilgrims told PTI that the ‘TIFO 3D banner’, which they have made will be unfurled first time in the history of Indian football. Asked further about the banner, the member said, “It is a Blue Tiger, which is ready to attack.” The member said the banner will be unfurled when the players will make an entry into the field.
So, what is Blue Pilgrims exactly, the member who refuses to divulge his identity, said: “It is an amalgamation of different local clubs and there are members who come from nook and corner of the country”. The members of Blue Pilgrims come from various places, meet their own expenses just to support Indian football. Asked how do they stay in an expensive metropolis like Mumbai, the member said locals offer the travelling fans beds to sleep.
When India spanked Chinese Taipei 5-0 in the opening encounter of the Intercontinental Cup, just over 2,000 fans watched the game, a large of which were the ‘Blue Pilgrims’. After the Chinese Taipei game, India captain Sunil Chhetri made a passionate plea to the fans to come and watch their matches. To make Chhetri’s 100th appearance special in national colours, the Blue Pilgrims have made his face cutouts for the match against Kenya which the hosts won 3-0.
Chhetri too had words of apprciation for the Blue Pilgrims, saying: “They are absolutely brilliant.” “There are some 300 or more travelling fans. They are struggling for accommodation and are coming from all parts of the country. Mind you, most of them are college students and maybe don’t have the money. But their passion surpasses everything.”
A senior official of the Mumbai Football Arena said they support these fans in different ways. “We provided them a hall when they wanted to make a special painting. In my capacity, I support these fans, in the way I can,” the official said.