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Layla Anna-Lee

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My car drives past a football pitch, great size, good grass, full of people; but as I get closer I realised the bigger challenge ahead of me.

They were playing cricket.

 

Where I’m from in Brazil, football is spiritual. Football stadiums are referred to as Cathedrals and there really is nothing more important.

In England, football is big business. The Premier League is… well I don’t even have to explain.

 

Here in India it’s second-rate importance – behind Cricket…

 

The Hero Indian Super League is but three years old, with great international talent such as Diego Forlan, Florent Maluda and Didier Zakora. Clubs are managed by top Head Coaches including Brazil’s own Zico and Italian hero Marco Materazzi. Yet no one I meet in the street supports a football team.

 

I’m here to anchor the live pre-match, half time and post-match shows for the largest sports channel in the country. With a population of over 1.2 billion, the viewership of the channel is naturally beyond any viewing figures I’ve ever heard of in England.

 

Slowly but surely we’re showing India what there is to love about the beautiful game. With each goal we win over some fans and with every dramatic sending off we win even more. It’s the drama they love here so much.

 

Thierry Henry has joined me in our feat to spread the love of the game into new territory and it’s working.

 

I’ll be here until the end of December bringing football games to the masses. I’ll be doing everything I can to get adults and children alike to fall in love with football and get out on to the pitches of India and play…without a cricket bat!

 

@laylaloves