Malapuram (Kerala), July 8 (ANI): Onset of monsoons marks the commencement of exclusive football tournaments in Malbar region of Kerala.
For the soccer crazy Keralites, these tournaments in which seven-a-side matches are played happen to be gala time.
The district of Malappuram in Kerala is said to be the Mecca for all soccer lovers and the south west monsoon adds a flavour to these enthusiasm of both the players and the fans as they wait eagerly to play and watch the matches in the rains.
This time of the year, the monsoon, is reckoned as resting time for professional players, as it is an off-season.
These matches are known as 'Sevens' since the teams are seven-a-side and they are of 50 minutes duration, usually played in the open fields of the villages.
"The rain football tournament is played during this time as we consider it as off season for players. But this kind of matches will help players and of course, a boon for the fans. Matches are held in more than four to five places at the same time in different villages of Malappuram.
The main aim of this is to have all season football matches for its lovers," said Hasskar Mohammed, Secretary, Monsoon Football Club, Malappuram.
It is said that the first ever soccer match in rain began in a village named Mankada and later this format of game spread to other villages. And today, over 50 such tournaments take place during the monsoon season.
The popularity of these tournaments could be gauged from the fact that hundreds of fans working in the Middle East specially fly home to either play or watch the lively game.
"Around the year 1996 this club (Monsoon Football Club) was formed. Now I work in the Gulf and since then me and my friends are coming to play and watch the game during monsoon season. I never miss the chance to watch the match. We all love these matches," said M.Gaffar from Dubai. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)