Best football stories of 2016 : Official Selection

As we reach the end of 2016, we at GT thought it will be a good time to look back at our journey through this year. Though footballing eternity mourned the passing away of some legends as well as whole football squad got wiped out through tragedy, there have been some fairy tales of underdogs’ triumphs. On personal front, it has been a fascinating year for us. We have completed five years, and celebrated that with our first print publication ‘Tiro: A football odyssey from Amazon to Alps‘ in association with Rattis Books, London, UK. We are grateful to our readers for embracing our labour of love with open arms.

On the coverage side, we have spread our wings from Afghanistan to Argentina. From story of success to story of oblivion, from cultural pilgrimage to the journey from darkness – GT have brought diverse genres to its readers.

Here is wishing all our contributors, readers, well wishers and collaborators a happy and prosperous 2017. Be assured that GT will continue to spread love for the beautiful game across the globe in the new year and beyond.

Here is the official selection of best football stories we have published in 2016 for your reading pleasure and to celebrate the rare art of storytelling.


Escape from the Taliban: The past, present and future of Afghan women’s football

Khalida Popal and Haley Carter shared an exhilarating account on how Afghan women’s football has taken a bright turn from dark regime of oppression, death-threats and sexual discrimination in an exclusive interview with Srinwantu Dey.

Life inside a Favela: How football wins over drug trafficking

Srinwantu Dey speaks to street football legend and director of Favela Street Foundation Roxanne Hehakaija to investigate life inside Rio de Janeiro’s infamous favelas and how football is taking a giant step to resurface their lives from the grip of drug-trading.

Escape from War – A journey from Liberia to Faroe Islands

Far from the cash rich world of Madrid and Manchester, Patrick Toh plays football in the Faroe Islands’ Second Division. But he is perhaps as happy as anyone in the planet after how his life has changed through an unlikely journey from the Liberian Civil War. Jack Peters narrates his tale here at Goalden Times.

A Ride Through West Jerusalem Football History

Jerusalem is a city of contradictions and conflicts. Uri Levy takes us on a journey through its old football pitches, depicting the stories of Jews and Arabs coexisting in the early days of the British Mandate, the developments of Israel’s Right and Left wings, and the radical escalation in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Once Upon A Time Near Chernobyl

The name Chernobyl reminds everyone of the nuclear plant disaster of 1986. Hardly anybody connects this name with football. Hopefully in future, after reading this article, the name of Chernobyl will also remind them of the connection that exists between the beautiful game and that horrific incident.. Arghya Lahiri has penned this article with this vision.

Darfur United: The Incredible Football team of the Sudanese Genocide Refugee Camp

An enthralling story about the Darfur United Football Club, and how football is inspiring the movement to bring hope to the refugee camps at the Chad–Sudan border. This piece has been narrated by Srinwantu Dey and features an exclusive interview of executive director of iACT, Gabriel Stauring – the pioneer of the vision.

The man behind fairy tale

The wise man from Rome made football breathe again when everybody thought he’d just ride off into the sunset. A look back at those auspicious 30 years that made what Claudio Ranieri is today. Goalden Times presents an immersive story-telling experience to celebrate the man who has orchestrated the finest fairy tale of modern history.

Into the intimidating world of Argentine hooligans

Football is a ‘beautiful game’ and Argentina has produced arguably the two best examples of such beauty in modern football. However, beneath this beauty lies a world full of violence, intimidation and cruelty. This article takes us through those alleys of Argentina. This article was first published in ‘Tiro: A football odyssey from Amazon to Alps’ , Rattis Books, UK, June 2016.

Italian tango: tracing the roots of Argentine footballers in Italy

We have come across quite a few footballers having dual citizenship and then opting to play for different countries in their younger days and when they grow up. The most frequent of such migrant stories are the influence of Argentine flavour on the Italian football. This article explores the century old connection and how that has shaped up football across continents. This article was first published in ‘Tiro: A football odyssey from Amazon to Alps’ , Rattis Books, UK, June 2016.

Behind the closed doors of Basque Country

Football sometimes becomes more than a game. Sometimes, it is the only chance to express your identity. This article narrates one such story of identity crisis from Spain where the pride, politics, nationalism and fan culture reached a culmination. This article was first published in ‘Tiro: A football odyssey from Amazon to Alps’ , Rattis Books, UK, June 2016.

Moacyr Barbosa: Brazil’s greatest villain?

Rarely in the glorified history of Brazil’s global football dominance, have they produced lasting names that were revered for presence between the sticks. Of course there were exceptions and had one of them been treasured aptly, then today’s acrobatic and out of the box keeping style would have seemed an inherited legacy from South America. This article travels down the road to the faraway land of Jogo Bonito – in the backdrop of the cursed Maracanazo that made a nation cry – to witness one such exceptional artist of the game who took the center stage of an epic monochromatic drama reminiscent of a Greek Tragedy. This article was first published in ‘Tiro: A football odyssey from Amazon to Alps’ , Rattis Books, UK, June 2016.

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