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Germany Fans in Qatar to miss super fan Zeman as they launch logo


Armstrong Vaz

Doha, Qatar: Long-time FC Bayern fan late Michael Zeman, better known as Buschmann to the record champions from Germany knew Qatar like the back of his hand. He was looking forward to the November-December FIFA World Cup in Qatar with all the enthusiasm and was hoping that Germany would win the World Cup.

Having travelled to the Middle East country at the invitation of Supreme Committee, the body entrusted with hosting the World Cup, multiple times and having enjoyed the hospitality of the organizers Zeman was all pumped to for the mega event until death snatched him away.

He died in Qatar on March 31 ahead of the April 1 FIFA World Cup draw held in Doha. He suffered a massive heart attack on the way from the airport to the hotel.

No one can replace him or take his place and take over the number one status which he enjoyed for decades as Bayern fan. "Buschi" travelled the world with FC Bayern - wherever they went, he was there too. Zeman was known for his warm manner and his distinctive outfit consisting of a jacket with over 100 patches, trousers with around 80 patches, 40 scarves, a 3.5-metre-long scarf around his neck, FC Bayern socks, FC Bayern shoes and a hat with patches.

Bayern fans based in Qatar have enjoyed his company every time he travelled during the winter camp of the German camp at the Aspire Academy held for the last eight years and were looking forward to the World Cup but destiny had something in store for them.

A few Indian fans, who met on at the FIFA World Cup countdown clock at Corniche on Friday evening to launch the logo of the Germany Fans in Qatar, remembered the towering personality while a few of them knew nothing about him.

“We are a few Indians who are supporting German for many years and for the last many World Cups,” said Sippy Jose who hails from Kerala and is a football advisory member of the Indian Sports Centre, an apex body registered with Indian embassy in Qatar.

Besides the logo launch, the Friday function was dominated by the Indians, with most of them hailing from Kerala with the native Germans preferring to remain aloof from the function.

Conspicuous by the absence was Michaela Spranger, who according to the flyer of the event is the German Fan Leader for FIFA in Qatar.

The strong Indian presence in the Germany Fans in Qatar could be seen with none of the embassy officials showing up at the function with the honors of the Chief guest going to Indian Sports Centre President Dr Mohan Thomas, who strangely also did not attend the cake cutting and logo function.

Incidentally, Dr Thomas, was the chief guest at the Brazilian fans club of Qatar cake cutting ceremony held at the same venue a few weeks back.

The predominant Indian group however were not unfazed by the absence of the two officials and went ahead with the function which concluded with a photoshoot and distribution of ID cards for the members of the club.

Safeer Rahman, Indian Fan coordinator of FIFA was present for the function and cut the cake and released the logo at the ceremony.

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