Goalden Times’ Best XI – Top stories of 2017

As we reach the end of 2017, we at Goalden Times (GT) thought it will be a good time to look back at our journey through this year.  On personal front, it has been a decent year for us. We have completed six years, our first print publication ‘Tiro: A football odyssey from Amazon to Alps‘ in association with Rattis Books, London, UK has been displayed in the annual conference of North American Society for Sport History at California State University, USA. 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. We have kicked off our dream series of ‘The Black Swans’ in celebration of the drama and madness of underdog fairy-tales, which has been accepted fairly well by the modern football audience.

Here is wishing all our contributors, readers, well wishers and collaborators a happy and prosperous 2018. 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 eleven football stories we have published in 2017 for your reading pleasure and to celebrate the rare art of storytelling.

Best Eleven of 2017

Bandana or Boni – The Battle Continues
Incredible story of an intersex footballer from remote India who fights for identity and shelter against a ruthless society, through GT Original, narrated by Tamoghna Kundu
Playing football around Balata Refugee Camp: A visual journey
An uncanny account of war-torn West Bank and Balata Refugee Camp through the eyes of a foreign journalist depicting how football is shaping its future amidst desert, bullets and crisis. Words and photography by Mladen Barbaric.
Mostar Derby – Where Football Meets Nationalism and Ethnicity
War ravaged Bosnia and Herzegovina has its own set of football history to be explored. Suprodip Ghosal from Goalden Times takes you through one such experience with a tale of the Mostar Derby comprising of clubs FK Velez Mostar and HSK Zrinjski Mostar.
Diego against the world
A visual documentation of flying tackles and attempted missions to conquer the unstoppable Diego Maradona (1979-1994). But how many of them have actually succeeded ? Words by Dr. Subhashis Biswas.
Small Team, Small town, Big dreams – The Story of San Felipe
Amidst a string of national championship wins by big Chilean clubs like Universidad de Chile, Colo Colo, and Union Española, a tiny team won their first championship—surprising and surpassing all. The team was San Felipe, our Chilean Black Swan, presented to you by Sebastian Moraga
The 92-year-old Goan Lady and Her Poems to Benfica
Srinwantu Dey for Goalden Times speaks to Carolina Miranda who is 92-years-young and the most unique fan of Benfica.
Josef Pepi Bican – The Lonely Man at the Top

We often get drawn into animated discussions or debates surrounding the greatest footballer of all time. Invariably the list narrows down largely to a handful of goal scorers, since their action culminates in the most important aspect of a football match (supposedly)– goal. But we sometime tend to overlook the bigger picture. What if there was someone who did not have the privilege of playing in a team as good as that of Pele’s? What if someone had to fight oppression just like Maradona but limelight evaded him? Debojyoti Chakraborty brings to you the story of one such man; a man who conquered Europe but had to live in obscurity.
Colo-Colo 1991: Mystical Journey of the Eternal Champions
The first line of Colo-Colo’s official anthem says, “Let us all sing from Arica to Magallanes, for Colo-Colo, an example of valour”. This perfectly summarizes the expansion of club’s fan base in Chile from Arica in the north to Magallanes in the south. The team has a special place in Chile’s heart and helped Chileans hope for unity during years of political turbulence. Tamas Sinha at Goalden Times takes us through the extravagant journey of a club that became a part of Chilean folklore.
Penalty – A Game of Choices

The phenomenon of penalty kick is a matter of choice – both for the penalty taker and the goalkeeper. The penalty taker needs to decide whether to shoot left, right or down the middle while the goalkeeper chooses whether to dive left, right or stay put in the center of goal. Can these choices fit a game theory model? Indranath Mukherjee explores the possibility by looking at an empirical study.
When Eastern Railway Ran on Full Steam (1958)
Indian national football team is on a high after its impressive display in the last two years, with them plummeting to a record 97th spot in the recent FIFA rankings, best in their history. The nation is also gripped by football fever as the host country of FIFA U17 World Cup is gearing up to witness some real-world class budding talents. And despite this latest change of fortunes, this same Indian football was traditionally once a formidable force in the continental front. And it was during those days that a lesser known team conquered the imagination of everyone. The team was Eastern Railway FC, our Indian Black Swan, presented to you by Debojyoti Chakraborty at Goalden Times.
Awer Bul Mabil: The refugee from Kakuma who could play the World Cup

As the Australians finally progress to the next year’s World Cup in Russia, it could be a fairy-tale journey for one player. This player is the uncapped, Kenya-born, 22-year-old refugee named Awer Bul Mabil, presented to you by Stephen Stratton at Goalden Times. This is his story.

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