Fan-spiration: “Being a fan of FC Bayern is the best thing in my life”
School days can be extremely exhausting, especially when you stayed up late the night before to watch football – Hammad Booso can tell you a thing or two about it. But it’s all worth it when the team you’re rooting for wins. For the 15-year-old, that team is FC Bayern.
Hammad lives in Wattala, which is a large suburb of Colombo City in Sri Lanka. At school, most of his friends who like football either support Barcelona or Real Madrid. But Hammad remains steadfast in his support for FC Bayern – even though he admits that he discovered his passion for the club relatively late.
“Even though my friends consider me as a die-hard FC Bayern fan, I fell in love with football much later than them as I used to be a fan of cricket,” he says.
This all changed when Hammad watched the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
“The team I supported was Germany, due to the way they played,” he recalls. “The performance of the Bayern players during that World Cup really inspired me. The fans also played a huge part in my falling in love with Bayern as I saw the club had a lot of passionate fans and I also wanted to become a part of the Bayern family. I knew then that FC Bayern is going to be the club I am going to support for the rest of my life.”
Hammad takes his commitment to FC Bayern very seriously. He says that “being a fan is the best thing in my life.”
“I have sacrificed many hours of sleep to watch the matches because most Champions League games take place between 1 and 3 AM here, and most of the games are on school nights as well but going to school after your team wins just makes the day a whole lot easier and better.”
Hammad plays football for an academy called Renown. He is a midfielder, but says he has a knack for scoring goals as well, so the one player he admires the most is Bayern’s star striker Robert Lewandowski – because of his finishing abilities, movement, leadership traits and the hard work he puts into the game.
“He inspires me and makes me a better player on the pitch,” Hammad explains. “I also try to incorporate Lewandowski’s movement aspects into my game. I’d say I also get a lot of inspiration from Joshua Kimmich because I too love to play with passion.”
Since Hammad only became a FC Bayern supporter in 2014, he unfortunately missed the club’s great treble-winning season the year before – so image his joy when he could finally witness the team repeat this success last month. Still, when asked about his favourite Bayern moment, he names the game against Dortmund in November 2019.
“It was the first time the Bayern Munich fan club of Sri Lanka got together to watch a game and thankfully we won it 4-0,” Hammad recalls. “The most devastating moment, however, has to be the UCL semi-final against Real Madrid back in 2018 because that match was meant to be won by us, but due to a mistake from Ulreich and a disallowed penalty we couldn’t reach the final.”
Hammad is also an avid jersey collector. Currently, he has 15 Bayern jerseys, but only one with an original player’s flock – Robert Lewandowski, of course. However, he plans to order a Leroy Sane jersey very soon.
“I usually buy the jerseys around one month after the release, and I like to always have three kits when possible, so that’s usually where all my savings go,” he explains.
While Hammad loves all his jerseys – they are special because it is not easy to get them in Sri Lanka due to a lack of demand – he does have a favourite one.
“The jersey that stands out from my collection is the 120th anniversary kit that was released this year. We all know why it’s special, but it’s my favourite because it was tough to source it here, and it took me around three months to get my hands on that jersey.”
While it’s already a complicated procedure to add more jerseys and kits to his ever-growing collection, it’s even harder for Hammad to have the chance to see FC Bayern play live.
“It’s one of my dreams to visit the Allianz Arena or even meet some of the players,” he says. “I hope to fulfil this dream one day.”