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Chacha Cricket Rallies Pakistan Fans at World Cup

by AFP

Oli Scarff—AFP

The 69-year-old celebrated 50 years of cheering on the national team at Trent Bridge stadium

Pakistan super-fan “Chacha Cricket” on Friday celebrated 50 years of watching his favorite sport by offering his team noisy support despite a World Cup thumping by West Indies.

Chacha Sufi Jalil, 69, is on his 12th trip to Britain, having flown over for the 1999 World Cup, a number of bilateral series, the 2009 World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy in 2013 and 2017. “I am a fan for 50 years today,” Jalil told AFP as he entered Trent Bridge stadium to support Pakistan.

The match itself was a damp squib for Pakistan’s large number of fans as their team were dismissed for a paltry 105 before West Indies romped to victory by seven wickets in just 13.4 overs.

Jalil’s spirits were not dampened by a clatter of early wickets. Once he settled in the ground after numerous selfies with fans, he started chanting his slogans at a high pitch—“jeetay ga bhai jeetay ga, Pakistan jeetay ga (Pakistan will win… brother)” and “Zor say bolo, zor say khelo (speak loud, play hard).”

“I am here to support Pakistan and Inshallah (God willing), Pakistan will win this World Cup, just like we won the Champions Trophy here in England,” said Jalil.

Chacha Cricket wears the traditional green shalwar kameez, Pakistan’s national dress, and can be found at every Pakistan match. He first attended an international game at the age of 19.

“I remember it was a Pakistan-England match and the year was 1969. Colin Cowdrey was the English captain, and Saeed Ahmed led Pakistan in Lahore Stadium. I paid Rs. 5 for the tickets and went with four friends. I enjoyed it very much.”

He later got a job in the United Arab Emirates and was a famous fixture at the Sharjah ground for many years.

Jalil will receive a prize at the Global Sports Fan Awards on June 14 in Manchester, two days before the much-anticipated India v. Pakistan game at Old Trafford. “I am honored to know that I will get an award on completing half a century of cricket watching,” he said.

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