Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:25
The FIFA World Cup trophy on Sunday (22 December) landed in the eastern city of Kolkata for a period of three days from 22 December to 24 December.
The trophy weighing a staggering 6.3 kg is made out of pure gold and was brought into Kolkata from Kathmandu in Nepal.
Present in Kolkata to welcome the arrival of the trophy were Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and former Brazilian football captain, Carlos Alberto.
The trophy is scheduled to travel across 89 destinations covering about 90,000 kilometres in total.
Congratulating beverage major Coca-Cola for taking up such an initiative, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar spoke about the importance of respecting a sport, to play in the right spirit and not to take anything for granted.
“In any sport you have to respect your opposition, you have to play in the right spirit and not take things for granted. They were all fighting so hard to lift that trophy and it was only possible because of Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola I think has played a big role in providing them a platform to express their talent,” Tendulkar said.
Former Indian skipper, Sourav Ganguly, emphasising on the fan following of the game said that football World Cup is a huge event across the globe.
“The World Cup Football is such a massive event to everyone. We talk about cricket in this country being such a big sport, but imagine the World Cup played in 200 countries. Brazil is the host this year, and it’s great to have Carlos Alberto in the city of Kolkata. If Brazil is the heart of World Football, I must say to all of you and especially to Carlos Alberto, that Kolkata is the heart of Indian Football,” Ganguly said.
Meanwhile, India added another feather in its cap as it was chosen to host the 2017 Under-17 football World Cup. India got the rights to host the event after facing initial rejections from the FIFA executive committee.
Envisaging the long term gain by hosting such an event in India, beverages major Coca-Cola’s Business Unit President, India & South West Asia, Venkatesh Kini, said that it was the beginning of a growth opportunity for football in India.
“I believe this is the beginning of a huge growth opportunity for the sport of football in India and we are very proud and honoured to be a part of this journey. And I hope through the process of all the activities that are happening across the country which we are also a part of, 2017 football Under-17 World Cup should be a great one for us,” said Kini.
Currently, the Indian ranking in FIFA is 148. With the country hosting the football Under-17 World Cup, it is being anticipated that more aspiring players will seriously turn to taking up football as a choice of career in a cricket crazy country.