Dussehra over, Ravana slayed and the Indian Football Association (IFA) couldn’t have been blamed for thinking life was back to business as usual. The sudden attack by Vanar Sena (a monkey army) therefore caught Bengal’s apex football body as unawares as a moment of Messi magic.
A Premier Division B match of the IFA league between United SC and Railway FC had to be abandoned because four langurs decided to have a ball at the Khardah stadium in Kolkata’s northern suburb, some 20 km from the city centre. The match was then tied at 1-1.
Invoking the force majeure clause, the IFA has decided to replay the tie in Kalyani on Tuesday. Call it coincidence or what you will but last year in an under-19 I-League match, United SC’s Biswajit Sardar was bitten by a monkey and laid off for three months.
The langurs reached the venue a little after 2pm. The 2:15pm kick-off was delayed due to this monkey business and it wasn’t until about half an hour later that they were chased away. The match began and soon United SC were trailing. They equalised but then the langurs reappeared.
“No one was hurt but they chased the match officials; maybe they were unhappy with the supervision,” said one of the clubs’ official in jest. It led to the match being abandoned.
United SC director Siddhartha Bhattacharya said the fact that they had had a player attacked by a monkey earlier was playing on their minds and they didn’t want to take a chance.