Traveling through India in search of soccer

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After an incredible four months, my traveling adventure was coming to an end, but first I had the small matter of India.

From the moment I had set off back in August, India was the country I was most excited to visit. I had heard lots of stories about people going to India that I didn’t believe could be true until I found myself in that exact situation.

Whether driving a motorbike, shopping in a supermarket or simply walking down the beach, I had the task of dodging sacred cows that roamed wherever and whenever they like.

I stayed in Goa, Delhi and Agra throughout my three weeks there, and in every room I stayed in I was spoiled for choice with sports action on the television. Just about every soccer match from the Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga was broadcast live, and I had around 10 channels to chose from, including Star Sports, FOX Sports, TEN Sports and Sony SIX. This was far from what I was used to back in the UK, where multi-million pound TV deals mean that we get to see three out of 10 games on average per match day, providing we pay for Sky Sports or BT Sport in the first place.

If there was no soccer, I had a variety of NBA games to choose from, and no matter what time of day, cricket (the country’s most popular sport) would always be shown. For me, as a lover of most sports, India had the greatest accessibility of sports from any of the other destinations I had visited.

SEE MORE: Traveling through Australia | Bali in search of soccer.

The moment that cemented my love for the country was during my time in India’s richest state, Goa. As luck would have it, I arrived in Goa just in time for the last regular fixture in the Indian Super League season. FC Goa were managed and captained by two Brazilian legends, Zico and Lucio, and they faced Delhi Dynamos in the last league meeting.

The ISL has a format dissimilar to major European leagues, where the top four go into playoffs with the winner of the final taking the ISL crown.

Delhi Dynamos were managed by another Brazilian great, Roberto Carlos, and boasted names like Florent Malouda and John Arne Riise in their starting XI.

FC Goa ran out 3-2 winners against Carloss’ men to finish top, in what was to be the first out of three meetings in just over a week, with Delhi finishing the regular season in fourth.

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