The year was 1990, television was black & white, the newspapers were black & white, then how do I know Cameroon were wearing green & red and Argentina wore blue & white ??
My first memory of watching a football world cup match live on TV is the opening match of 1990 world cup between the underdogs Cameroon and defending champions Argentina. I remember waiting for my uncle to finish watching his favourite 8.30pm bulletin on DD so that, with his permission, we could bring the TV to our room.
My elder sister would carry the portable TV carefully, with me in tow holding the miniature flexible antenna attached to the set.
We were a huge joint family and only my father’s eldest brother had a television in his room. The only way to watch the matches was to bring the TV to our room before uncle went to sleep, stay glued to the live FIFA action all night and re-install the TV back in the morning just in time for the 7.30 am local bulletin.
We could not adjust the antenna in the perfect angle, there were always those white milky spots on the screen, but it was okay.
That evening, as both the teams took to the ground, my father, a big football fan and a former player himself shouted in excitement, “Look look, Maradona Maradona, jersey number 10!” Maradona took the ball, did some amazing juggling with his head, chest and legs and handed it over to the referee. The crowd seemed to go mad at every action of Maradona’s.
When Maradona was in action, it made no difference if your TV was black & white!
The game began amidst thundering applause from the spectators. Atmosphere, both in the ground as well as in our bedroom was enchanting. Maradona tried his best to recreate his old magic but the Cameroon defenders were in no mood to give him any room. Every time Maradona fell to the ground…..the crowd cried in pain – Aaaaaaaaahs and Ooooooohs filled the air.
My father was repeatedly commenting that Cameroon was playing foul game. We could see the pain on his face every time Maradona was pushed aside or foul kicked. That night we became a permanent fan of Argentina. Two red cards shown and Cameroon were down to 9 players. My sister was ready with a pen and paper, noting down the name of the players shown red cards.
At the end of every match the TV host would ask different question related to the matches and we answered those question through post cards. There were lots of prizes announced. The competition was tough without Google and mobile, but we succeeded in answering most of them. Prizes never reached our home, but we were happy to have answered them correct.
The Final Score: Cameroon 1, Argentina 0
That day the world champions and the God of football lost to Cameroon. We got very sad and still do every time Argentina loses in the world cup.
Since 1990, we are forced to change our favourite team midway through the games once Argentina loses. This year once again our hope is in the same jersey numbers and the same team. Messi will be our man, there won’t be any milky white spots on the TV nor would the jersey appear black and white. We shall be awake through the night for the Blues and the Whites.
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