Kolkata: Kolkata, the soccer-mad city of cricket crazy India, could see a host of famed stars including Brazilian Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, Italian Fabio Cannavaro and Portuguese Luis Figo turning out for an exhibition match in August.
The initiative has been taken by a Buenos Aires-based soccer management group – We Are Futbol – and sports management firm Indian Football Evolution, sports minister Madan Mitra said on the sidelines of a programme here.
“We are pleased to inform that Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Fabio Cannavaro, Hernan Crespo and Raul Gonzalez are free to play an exhibition match in between August 1-15,” Lucas Lugo, WAF chief executive, wrote in a missive to his IFE counterpart Prashant Agarwal.
“The letter has been forwarded to my ministry,” Mitra said, claiming efforts were on to stage an All Stars XI match. “Hopefully, we will have the event during the Aug 1-15 period. But we will be careful in completing all the necessary formalities in time this time around”.
The sports minister claimed Manchester United was likely to play a game in Kolkata this year. However, a look at the English club’s schedule showed its tight schedule left little room for an India trip.
Mitra added that Manchester United was interested to know about the football academies and schools in the state. The minister said he had a tele-conference with MU officials recently. “They are interested about the soccer infrastructure. We expect them to come soon”.