The arena built by Putul Bora in Diphu. Picture by UB Photos
As hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia clash at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow in the Fifa 2018 World Cup opener, hundr of football fans in the Karbi Anglong district headquarters will cheer the players at a 1,800 square feet arena built by Bora from his own money in his front yard.
“I took a bank loan of Rs 15 lakh for construction of the ‘symbolic stadium‘. A 56-inch LCD monitor has been installed where all football fans can witness the highs and lows of the World Cup together,” Bora said.
His love for the German team led Bora to purchase whisky from Calcutta in 1994 to cheer for his team’s victory. But he had to bury the 750ml whisky bottle in the yard when Bulgaria defeated Germany 2-1 in the quarter-finals that year. He dug out the bottle next in 2014 as Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the final and were crowned world champions.
In 2014, Bora made space in his yard for the arena where 200 people could enjoy a match on the big screen. “This time I have made seating arrangements inside and outside the hall so that 500 people can enjoy watching the tournament,” he said.
“It is a wonderful thing that someone could love a foreign football team in the way Bora does. In fact, most people in Diphu will agree that his support for his ‘ doosri desh’ has been taken to a new level,” Sangma said.
“This hill district has been in the news for the past week for the unfortunate incident in which two youths were lynched. Bora’s initiative brings to light the positive side of the people of Karbi Anglong,” said Jotson Ranghang, a local businessman.