English Premier League club Manchester City’s Instagram post extending Onam wishes in Malayalam went viral on the internet and warmed the hearts of the local populace. Manchester City wished Malayalees across the world “Happy Onam” in Malayalam, as a result of which the Instagram picture went viral and warmed the club’s fan base in Kerala. While the image focuses on superstar Erling Haaland in blue jersey biting into a fried pappadam, the background shows two houseboats lined up close to a piece of land defined by coconut trees, catching the instant attention of Malayalees across world. Kerala Tourism reposted the image on Facebook, saying “The team with 32 major honours in the English Premier League wishes all Malayalees a happy Onam. Manchester City has quite a dedicated Malayalee following all over the world”.
This, too, earned a flurry of congratulations, a Kerala Tourism statement said here on Thursday.
Commenting on the post, Kerala Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said on Thursday that football has for long been part of the state’s sporting culture, which has now earned yet another note of warmth from abroad.
“Manchester City is among the world’s top football clubs and they have dedicated followers in Kerala as well,” he said.
The Instagram picture is effectively a token of the club’s gratitude to us, the minister added.
While Onam, as Kerala’s harvest festival, bears the egalitarian spirit of universal bonding, experts note that the impact of Manchester City’s Onam post is a pointer to ways a football club can go beyond its traditional boundaries and appeal to faraway people from different backgrounds.
One commentator said the 143-year-old club is making a “concerted effort to connect with its fans in Kerala and the surrounding region.” The 23-year old Haaland, a Norwegian who plays as a striker for Manchester City, is rated as one of the world’s best footballers, going by his speed, strength, positioning and finishing inside the box.
For Kerala and its tourism, this is not the first kind of experience. Five months ago, football powerhouse Chelsea FC made a virtual tour of Alappuzha, praising the beauty of the state’s backwater paradise, the statement further said.
“The beauty of Kerala! The Blues visit the scenic backwater of Alleppey as part of the virtual tour,” ran the caption of a virtual image of March 20, it added.
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