Panjam: Goans will add voice to the Portuguese supporters cheering for Portugal when they take on France tonight at the Stade de France in the Euro 2016 final.
Portugal forward Ricardo Quaresma during a training session in Paris on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Goa, a former Portuguese colony in India, will also be chanting "Viva Portugal" in sport bars and restaurants and homes all over the tiny tourist State.
Alvito D'Cunha, Goan footballer from Curchorem, now with East Bengal is a fan of the Portugal football team. "They are in great form and I am sure that the Euro finals will be a cliffhanger," said Alvito.
Football is a religion in this former Portuguese colony. Clubs like Dempo, Churchill Brothers, Salgaocar, Vasco are all top clubs of the country. The Indian Super League, too, has an impressive Goan outfit — FC Goa — who have made it to 2015 final.
Ronaldo, the poster boy
Portugal supporters in Goa have faith in Cristiano Ronaldo. The three-time Ballon d'Or winner is a poster boy of the State.
Arnaldo D'Costa, promoter of football in Curtorim was optimistic that Portugal will win with Ronaldo. "Ronaldo is a game changer and if he plays his natural game Portugal will win," said Arnaldo.
Shops selling sports goods in Goa are doing swell business as Portugal fans are rushing to grab their favourite jersey.
Agnelo Fernandes, sports shop owner at Margao said the fans had come in numbers to buy Portugal jerseys and his stock was almost sold out.
The Portuguese ruled Goa for over 450 years until 1961. They left behind a strong football culture. Goa has hundreds of village clubs, which is a testimony of the Beautiful Game.
Borges D'Costa, football player from Velsao, said that France could win but Portugal needs to attack and defend well. Goa will be keenly following the finals to see if Ronaldo's dream of winning a trophy with Portugal comes true.
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