BIRTAMOD, Jhapa, June 30: As the thrill of Poland-Ukraine Euro Cup is in its throes, football fever has gripped football lovers across the globe. Birtamod, an eastern city of Nepal, is no exception.
About a dozen youths from Birtamod have been observing the mega football event and the thread that unites them is Italy, the Euro Cup finalist which takes on defending champion Spain in the title clash to be held on Sunday midnight.
The group initiated by Ashis Bon, who has erected a flag of Italy at his house, is all set to take out a motorbike rally in Birtamod and other towns of Jhapa praying for an Italian victory in the final. "We have planned to take out a motorbike rally in Birtamod area wishing success for Italy," said Bon, who claims to have erected the biggest flag of Italy in Nepal.
Bon, who was also a football player during his schooldays, and his group has not missed a single match of the Euro Cup. "We celebrated every Italian victory but returned home disappointed when Italy was held to draws on two counts during the group stage," Bon told Republica.
During Italy´s match against England in the quarterfinal and Germany in the semifinal, these fans had painted Italian flags on their faces and cheered together.
They have also distributed Italy´s flag to others and wear Italian jersey.
Not only Bon but other members of the group -- Roshan Prasai, Sachin Bansal, Sanjay Rijal (Bob), Narbu Lama and others -- are optimistic that Italy will win the Euro Cup.
The members of the group also share common sentiments for Italy. "Italy was vying for the title against Brazil during the 1994 World Cup. Roberto Baggio missed his spot kick in the penalty shootout and Italy lost the match. Italy players cried on the field and we cried too," shared Bon who revealed that the group has been supporting Italy since. He also has a sweet memory of the group taking out a rally in Birtamod and other parts of the district with Italian flag painted on their bodies after Italy won the 2006 World Cup.