Published: 18th June 2018
This Math teacher from Kerala is cycling 4,300 km to Russia to get Messi's autograph
Clifin Francis reached the border of Russia on June 5 and he still needs to travel more than 480 km to reach Moscow
A youth from Cherthala is travelling to Moscow to watch the Fifa World Cup on a bicycle, scripting a new chapter in the football frenzy. Clifin Francis, 28, a native of Thuravoor in Alappuzha, is yet to reach Russia, approximately in five to six more days and will watch matches in Moscow.
Clifin reached the border of Russia on June 5 and currently, he needs to travel more than 480 km to reach Moscow. He has already covered 4,300 km in four months. Clifin spoke to us via WhatsApp from his tent, where he was resting for the night on Monday, located over 400 km from Moscow.
His aim is to watch football and get an autograph of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi on his bicycle, of whom he is an ardent fan.
"I have got tickets for France vs Denmark match on June 26. Yes, I am a huge Messi fan, I would like to get an autograph if possible, meet him. Messi and football are the reasons that motivated me, while travelling also it kept pushing me, I don't know yet if it will work out like the meeting him part, but I would be happy if I can inspire youngsters in my country through this journey, to chase their dreams no matter what, I would be just as happy," says Clifin.
Clifin, the only child of late Rosely and the late Francis, is a BTech holder and worked with TCS as a software engineer, which he quit three years ago. Now he freelances as a mathematics teacher in Kochi.
“Whenever he comes to our home at Thuravoor from Kochi, he used to come on a bicycle. Clifin, is a wonder for his friends and relatives from his schools days,” said Abhijith, a friend of Clifin.
“He set out his to Russia on February 23 with the money he collected from his job. The longest trip before his Russian jaunt was the cycle trip to Kanyakumari. He went to Dubai from Kerala by flight and from there he bought a cycle and started pedalling to Russia. He had travelled through UAE, Iran, and Azerbaijan to reach Russia,” he added.
Cycling his way to glory: This Messi fan is travelling to Moscow on his bicycle
Clifin decided to quit his job and travel across the world, he has been to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar on his bicycle.
"I quit my job just to travel, I love to travel, and I must add travel and football is an amazing combination. For this trip first I had thought of going through Pakistan but the visa was a problem, so I had to reroute, then travelled via UAE, Iran," Clifin adds.
Clifin is not a professional cyclist, he is just like any of us, just with an indomitable spirit to fulfill his dreams.
He says the plan to travel to Russia for the world cup came to him when he was travelling across India and Southeast Asia, two years ago, and he met a few other guys who were cycling, which motivated and inspired him.
So he came back home and bought a cycle, and started commuting on a bicycle on a daily basis.
"If you want to travel nothing can stop you, money is not a problem, as a freelancer, I worked for 8 months, no holidays, and now I am so close to fulfilling my dream," says Clifin. "Initially, the journey was hard, first 2-3 weeks, I had a lot of pain, but now I think anyone can do it," he adds.
He bought his bicycle for this trip from Dubai, and it cost him $700 and he started with a $1000. "I still have $100 till I reach Moscow," Clifin said on June 18.