FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP
After hosting Nwankwo Kanu, Carles Puyol and Esteban Cambiasso as part of the lead-up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, India will see FIFA Legends, Emmanuel Amuneke, Carlos Valderrama, Fernando Morientes, Marcel Desailly and Jorge Campos join the Trophy Experience on September 6 to mark â€œ30 days to goâ€ until the start of the first FIFA tournament in the country.
The Legends will take part in the Mumbai leg of the Trophy Experience and will play in an exhibition match at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai to celebrate what is poised to be the biggest football tournament in Indiaâ€™s history.
Amuneke is a former Nigeria international who played at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and won Olympic gold in 1996 with the Dream Team that also included Kanu and Austin Jay Jay Okocha.
The former Barcelona star has since embarked upon a successful coaching career that saw him lead the Golden Eaglets to glory at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2015 in Chile.
Valderrama on the other hand is an iconic star of Colombian and South American football. â€œEl Pibeâ€ as he was fondly called in his active day, played in three editions of the FIFA World Cup in a decorated career spanning more than two decades.
Fernando Morientes featured in two editions of the FIFA World Cup for Spain and is fondly remembered for his three UEFA Champions League trophies with Real Madrid.
Marcel Desailly was part of the French side that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and went on to captain Les Bleus to two FIFA Confederations Cup titles in 2001 and 2003, winning numerous other trophies along the way.
Striker-turned-goalkeeper Jorge Campos revolutionised the art of goalkeeping and was Mexicoâ€™s undisputed first-choice custodian in successive editions of the FIFA World Cup â€“ USA 1994 and France 1998.
According to Valderrama, â€œthe FIFA U-17 World Cup in India will be a milestone in the history of football. I look forward to joining the Trophy Experience, which will bring the excitement of this landmark event even closer to Indian fans. There are great expectations in Colombia ahead of the first participation of our team since Nigeria 2009.”
Expressing his delight at the prospect of hosting five FIFA Legends during the Trophy Experience, LOC Chairman and AIFF President Praful Patel said: â€œStarting today, weâ€™re just a month away from the biggest football tournament our country has witnessed. Immense effort has gone into the preparation, both on and off the pitch, and weâ€™re really close to seeing it all bear fruit. Today, as part of the ongoing Official Trophy Experience, we mark the final milestone in the run-up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017. In a monthâ€™s time, we hope to see spectators turn out in large numbers and play their part in putting India on the global footballing map.â€
The Trophy Experience will see the Official Winnerâ€™s Trophy of the FIFA U-17 World Cup visit all six host cities of the tournament, giving millions of Indians the chance to be part of the football festival and to see the same trophy that will be lifted at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on October 28.