I attended the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006. It was an impromptu plan and I was there for a month. It had a hysterical and incredible vibe. The experience was unbelievable. I travelled across Germany from game to game, city to city. Germany has the best infrastructure and transport network in the world. I was amazed to see people from far off countries like Japan and Argentina pouring in thousands. They were sport fanatics, who'd camp outside the stadium to cheer for their favourite teams like groupies in a rock band.
Every nook and corner, be it a park or a bar — had a screening of the World Cup — which was incredible.
In fact, I look forward to being at Brazil this time. So far I haven't planned but last minute, I might just end up being there. For me, it doesn't matter which team wins since India is not playing. However, it's a treat to watch.
Every World Cup, it's exciting to see the underdogs emerging stronger and doing well, be it the East European countries or the African teams. I don't have any favourite teams as such. There are so many good teams and I don't believe in backing one. I think one challenge which perhaps players face in the World Cup is to perform after the teams are regrouped. Regrouping and playing can be quite challenging. Also in those crucial weeks, you need to keep yourself mentally and physically fit.
It's sad that India lacks a professional set up and has not qualified for the tournament. There's no infrastructure here and the government has done nothing to improve that. Hope the Indian Super League encourages more private participation.
—Niketan Madhok is a model