Monday, October 20, 2014

Chp 533. The Silence that we all missed


Last night, a lot of people watched NorthEast United FC and FC Goa battle it out at the ongoing Indian Super League. The match ended in a draw, with veterans like ex-Arsenal players Robert Pires and Andre Santos unable to take advantage of a much younger home side. Those of us who saw the match would definitely have an opinion about the game or how the players performed.

However, what none of us who were watching the match on TV or online Live-streaming noticed was this.



Yes, a 30 seconds moment of silence was held by the players of NEUFC and FC Goa before the kick-off.

We never saw this on TV or Live stream because it went into commercials at this time. Only those who were at the stadium witnessed this, and the whole stadium came down to a complete silence for 30 seconds.

What was the reason for this?

A moment of silence before a match in football is usually honored to mourn the death of a fellow football player, as a way of showing respect or tribute to the dearly departed. It is a professional etiquette football players show to each other, although it doesn’t always have to involve a player, like for instance how Newcastle United recently held a minute of silence before their match, in remembrance of their two fans who were among the victims of the unfortunate Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

In yesterday’s case, it was because of this football player.



Peter Biaksangzuala.

Peter was an MPL player. MPL stands for Mizoram Premier League, and it is the highest state-level association football league in Mizoram. And for a State crazy about football, the turnout for any MPL match is always huge, with fans screaming out slogans and cheers and jeers that echoes across the entire valley.

He played for the team BVFC (Bethlehem Vengthlang FC) and just last week, they had a match against CWFC (Chanmari West FC). The atmosphere was highly intense, with CWFC leading by one goal, when in the 60th minute, Peter scored an absolute stunner to put the scoreline at 1-1. BVFC fans erupted in joy and Peter went on to celebrate his goal with a series of somersault.

Unfortunately, he landed badly on his back.


[Pic source: ZoFooty]

What felt like one of the most momentous occasions, took a complete turn in a matter of seconds. He had to be substituted and was rushed to the hospital.

Most people thought the injury wouldn’t be serious, and everybody continued watching the match.

It was only later that friends and family of Peter learnt that the injury had affected his spinal cord and he had to be put on a ventilator!

And yesterday, Sunday 7:00 AM, the devastating news that Peter had succumbed to his injury in spite of the best efforts from doctors to save him, sent shockwaves across the tiny State of Mizoram. Peter breathed his last, but not before donating his eyes and other vital organs.

It was such a tragedy for such a talented young player to die that way – for celebrating a goal.

Many of my Facebook friends too changed their profile pictures to his, in order to honor him. Condolences messages were posted everywhere. His funeral in Mizoram saw a HUGE turnout, especially from football fans and players of other football clubs in Mizoram. People from all walks of life turned up to accompany his body till the grave. His club BVFC announced that they were going to retire his jersey number (the highest honor a club can give to a player, meaning no other players playing for the club can ever have that jersey number as it now permanently belongs to Peter).



And last night, this tribute crossed State-lines as NorthEast United FC and FC Goa observed a 30 seconds moment of silence in memory of Peter.

I just wished the telecast never went into commercials right then. But since it did, here is me telling you about the unseen story, the silence that we all missed. About the 23 years old defensive midfielder whom most of us have never heard of, but as football lovers, fans and enthusiasts alike, we all share the pain of losing someone in such a bizarre manner. All because he celebrated his goal. Only if you’re crazy and passionate enough about football will you understand the adrenalin rush of scoring a goal and celebrating it. And in the end, it was indeed a deserving tribute to a fallen player, especially with former legends like Robert Pires and others paying their last respects.

RIP Peter.