Fan-spiration: “I’m happy to be part of this huge ‘mia san mia’ community”
Like many fans, 19-year-old Wahaba Barkat was introduced to the wonderful world of football by her parents. In fact, her whole family have always been ardent fans of the German national team and admirers of the country’s greatest players – perhaps it was only natural for Wahaba to follow their example.
“Luckily, my parents have always shared their football knowledge with me,” says Wahaba, who is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery and lives in Kolkata, India. “I gradually fell in love with FC Bayern and Germany because of their style of playing, their unity, and above all, the spirit of never giving up, which is very present in our players.”
Wahaba’s favorite player and idol Manuel Neuer embodies this spirit perfectly: “His goalkeeping skills often make me think that he is the perfect player, and he inspires me to never give up and come back stonger. He is one of the greatest goalkeepers of this generation and one of the reasons I became so fascinated with football.”
Supporting FC Bayern has given her a lot of happiness over the years, she explains, and this feeling continues to grow.
“I feel like I’m part of a family and that we face both the good times and the tough times together,” Wahaba says. “FC Bayern is one of the most respected and honoured clubs throughout Europe, and I’m happy to be part of this huge ‘mia san mia’ community.”
Wahaba thinks that the club is doing a great job at connecting to their fans worldwide, especially on social media.
“I was featured on their Instagram story once, and the official FC Bayern US Twitter account is following me – it makes me feel very special,” she explains. “The admins of the Bayern page are very friendly, and I absolutely love them.”
While Wahaba still remembers FC Bayern winning their first treble 2013, she feels more strongly about the team’s triumph earlier this year – mainly because of Robert Lewandowski.
“He truly deserved it because of the fantastic season he played,” she says.
Unfortunately, Wahaba never had the opportunity to travel to Munich and witness a game live at the Allianz Arena, but it’s definitely on top of her to-do list in the future. In the meantime, she religiously watches FC Bayern games in her hometown.
And she is not alone. There are many FC Bayern fans in India, including officially recognized fan clubs, such as the Bayern India Fan Club and the Bavarian Army Kolkata. The passion for German football in India also goes beyond FC Bayern. According to Wahaba, other Bundesliga teams also have quite a few supporters across the country.
She knows exactly what she’s talking about: Wahaba’s best friend supports one of Bayern’s biggest rival – Borussia Dortmund.
“Every time before our two teams meet for ‘der Klassiker’, we make a bet, just for a bit of fun,” she says. “But luckily, it’s mostly me who wins.”
Follow Wahaba on Twitter: @meraki_007