Sachin, Sourav cheer for FIFA Cup

Kolkata, Dec 22 : It poured sporting icons in Kolkata on Sunday and the occasion was a big cheer for football. So when cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and Prince of Kolkata Sourav Ganguly shared the stage to welcome the original FIFA World Cup Trophy in this eastern metropolis, it was a rare moment for Kolkatans to cheer for a heady fusion of two most passionately played games in the world.

Coca Cola India brought to the City of Joy the most prized conquest in world football, the original FIFA World Cup Trophy.

The trophy was unveiled at a glittering ceremony at ITC Sonar Bangla hotel in the presence of Sachin and Sourav along with some famous footballers of India and abroad.

Carlos Alberto Torres, legendary Brazilian footballer who had captained to victory the 1970 football World Cup team, and who is the official ambassador of FIFA World Cup 2014, joined the the unveiling ceremony with cricketing bigwigs and Venkatesh Kini, Deputy President, Coca Cola India & SWA (South West Asia).

"To go up and support other sport is a different experience," said Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar.

"I thank Coca Cola for giving thousands of football fans the opportunity to view this coveted trophy and be a part of the excitement around the FIFA World cup trophy Tour. Carlos Alberto makes this a memorable occasion" said Tendulkar.

Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly began by congratulating Sachin for his Bharat Ratna and then commented on the trophy saying, "If Brazil is the heart of the world's football, then Kolkata is the heart of Indian football."

He also said that his favourite footballer is Argentine legend Maradona.

Carlos Alberto Torres said, "The FIFA Cup is the most prestigious symbol of the glory of football. Having held the trophy in my hand as a World cup winning captain in 1970, I can tell you that the feeling is unparalleled. This is my second visit to Kolkata and I am extremely humbled by the generous hospitality extended by the people of the city."

Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation (AIFF), footballer Prasun Banerjee, AIFF senior vice-president Subrata Dutta, and Indian Football Association general secretary Utpal Kumar Ganguly were present along with West Bengal Sports and Transport Minister Madan Mitra and city mayor Sovon Deb Chattopadhay.

Speaking at the ceremony, Venkatesh Kini, Deputy President, Coco Cola India & SWA said, "Coca Cola, the world's most loved beverage brings about moments that come but once in a lifetime.

"Kolkata is the city that is not only the most passionate city about football but the most talked about city. This Trophy is amongst the world's ultimate symbols of happiness, optimism, inclusiveness, diversity, collaboration and commitment," he said.

Football administrator Kushal Das said: "I had the first glance on the trophy and believe me I could not take my eyes off it. This encouragement needs to come in from, all quarters and I would like to congratulate Coca Cola India for the standing partners and for having great football talent of our country."

The event was a musical treat too with pop icon Usha Uthup lending her voice to the FIFA Anthem.

--IBNS (Posted on 23-12-2013)

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