On the occasion to mark 30 days to the Under-17 FIFA World Cup, world football legends are set to enthral fans when they play an exhibition match against a mixed gender former Indian stars in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The FIFA legends, including World Cup winner Frenchman Marcel Desailly, Colombian great Carlos Valderrama, Spain’s Fernando Morientes, Mexican Jorge Campos and Nigerian Emmanuel Amuneke, will roll back the years and turn out for a short match at the D Y Patil Stadium.
It is learnt that the FIFA Legends vs Indian Legends match will be of 20 minutes duration with two halves of 10 minutes each.
The Indian side will have the likes of former Indian men’s team captain Renedy Singh and legendary women footballer Bembem Devi. The current Indian women’s team captain Bala Devi will also be a part of the mixed gender team.
Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia was to be part of the team but he will not be able to take part in the exhibition match on Wednesday due to a back problem.
The recently launched official song of the U-17 World Cup will be played during the half-time.
The FIFA legends will also unveil the U-17 World Cup Winners’ Trophy as part of the Mumbai leg of the trophy experience. They will also take part in a Facebook AMU giving fans a chance to get their questions answered by any one of them and know more about their iconic careers.
An iconic member of the Colombian team (1985-1998), Valderrama, also known as ‘El Pibe’, played in three editions of the FIFA World Cup in a decorated career.
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.
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.
The striker-turned-goalkeeper Jorge Campos revolutionised the art of goalkeeping and was Mexico’s undisputed first-choice custodian in successive editions of the FIFA World Cup– USA 1994 and France 1998.
A former Nigeria international at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and Olympic gold medallist in 1996, Amuneke started a successful coaching career that saw him leading the Golden Eaglets to glory at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2015 in Chile.
Entry for the exhibition match is free and the D Y Patil Stadium has been revamped for the prestigious tournament with newly fitted seats and extended roof-top.
Earlier, India had hosted FIFA legends like Carlos Puyol, Esteban Cambiasso and Nwankwo Kanu as part of the lead-up to the tournament, which kicks off on October 6. Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Kochi and Margao are the six venues of the tournament.
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