Maradona to kick start football carnival in Kolkata

Diego Maradona is visiting Kolkata for two days on September 18-19. The Argentine legend will kick off a football carnival in the City of Joy, a month before the Under-17 Football World Cup gets underway in India.

During his earlier visit to Kolkata in December 2008 thousands of fans had gathered to welcome him past midnight at the airport.

Maradona confirmed his visit in a video-conference call on Tuesday. The 56-year-old said he was very excited to visit West Bengal after nearly 10 years. “It is such an honour for me to be able to make this trip. Kolkata is a very special place and I have good memories from my trip there many years ago, the fans were fantastic,” Maradona said. “India is a very passionate football nation, and I look forward to meeting a whole new generation of fans while continuing to spread the overwhelming love that I have for this beautiful game.”

The two-day visit to the city will be made more special as the icon will play a charity football match against the city’s favourite son and former India captain Sourav Ganguly on September 19, the day of Mahalaya that marks the beginning of Durga Puja festival.

“This will be called the ‘Match for Unity’, and will not be an 11-a-side. We will try to ensure that Maradona remains in the spotlight. Besides Ganguly, there will be a host of other celebrities. We are finalising the venue,” Satadru Dutta, who is the partner of 7d Ventures and Founder of Moksh Sports Ventures, the promoter of Maradona’s trip told PTI.

Maradona will also be felicitated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. ” Maradona will be given the Lifetime Achievement award by the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee,” Dutta said. “We will also be having a football workshop with budding young talents as well,” he added.

Maradona will also be felicitated by ‘Ami Banglai Dheki Swapno’, a foundation consisting of eminent people of Bengal.