Twelve local teams have been battling it out at the Manjappada Dilli Soccer League 2018. As matches were played out during the last weekend, they were cheered by their supporters who found time to be at the stadium to root for their favourite team.

Chances are you may not have heard of the football league happening in East Delhi, where the teams were working hard to earn a place in the semi-final knockouts. Teams from educational institutions like Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi University and Amity University, apart from other small clubs like Jana Sanskriti and Sunday Club were part of the line-up.

The youth donning their team colours and emanating an invigorating football spirit managed to draw in the local crowds to cheer the players. The kind of support seen for the Manjappada Dilli Soccer League 2018 indicated growing popularity of the world’s most popular sport in Delhi. Other states—Goa, Kerala, West Bengal and Manipur—have always been known for the love of the sport.

Two of the teams – AIIMS and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital –had doctors in the playing eleven.

These twelve teams have been divided into three groups. Every group comprises 4 teams. The teams in every group will play in the round robin format to select the winning team from every group (three winning teams in total). The fourth winner will be selected among the runner-up teams. These top four teams will fight it out during the semi-final knockout.

“The team from All India Institute of Medical Science seems to have had the best support during the first 12 matches held during the weekend.” Nikhil Marokey of Manjappada Delhi said.

The enthusiasm among the teams has been nothing short of exemplary.

“This is a new team consisting of players and football enthusiasts, who were not part of any team. We came together to make the team participate in the tournament. Now we have decided to continue to practice and take part in new tournaments,” Panthers FC captain Libin said.

Fahad PT, a nursing officer who played for AIIMS Football Club, was happy to have been part of the experience. “This was a wonderful experience. I had not seen such nice organisation and great arrangements for all teams. ”

Manjappada (meaning ‘Yellow Army’ in English) supporters are among the most active football fan groups in the country. They cheer for Kerala Blasters, follow them literally everywhere and stand out in yellow, just like the team they ardently support. In less than four years, the Manjappadda fans movement has become a powerful force with more and more supporters across the globe joining in with each passing day.

(Coca-Cola is supporting the Manjappada Dilli Soccer League 2018)