Cafu, Pele, Maldini set to rock soccer-crazy Kolkata

Kolkata: The home of Indian football is once again gearing up for another fiesta when a galaxy of world stars, led by two-time World Cup winner Brazilian Cafu, will be up against a dream Indian XI at the salt Lake Stadium on January 23.

More than three decades after he mesmerised the football-crazy crowd in an exhibition match for New York Cosmos, 71-year-old Brazilian legend would return to action in the city, being part of the Superstars XI.

The world team would also boast of another Brazilian star Ronaldo, the tournament organisers stated in a release on Tuesday.

The city`s football-crazy crowd will also get an opportunity to watch the member of 1998 World Cup winning France team, Marcel Desailly besides the likes of legendary Italian defender Paolo Maldini.

The coach of the team would be former Dutch superstar Ruud Gullit -- the captain of the Euro 88 winning team.

Selected by the Football Players` Association of India, the home side will be led by inspirational Bhaichung Bhutia which will also have another great forward I M Vijayan up front, the release added.

The Shyam Thapa coached dream Indian XI will also have formers Indian stars like Carlton Chapman, Jo-Paul Ancheri, Bruno Coutinho to name a few.

The football superstars along with few Indian players will also impart a two-hour training in the morning of the match day.

"The event is about promoting football in the country and giving young and upcoming players exposure to international football," it added.

The tickets in the 120,000 capacity stadium will be priced between Rs 300 and 500, the release said.

Way back on September 22, 1977, Pele fever gripped the city as he drew more than 80,000 fans at Eden Gardens for an exhibition match against Mohun Bagan as it became a part of football folklore in India.

After Pele, Kolkata`s tryst with the legends continued as it later hosted German World Cup winning captain Lothar Matthaus, legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, Argentine great Diego Maradona and the latest being iconic Lionel Messi in September last year.

The organisers said further details of the match would be announced on January 6.

Superstars XI: Cafu (c), Pele, Regi Blinker, Ronaldo Lu?s Nazario de Lima, Marcel Desailly, Paolo Maldini, Denilson, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Angsker Birkman, Winston Bogarde, Christian Karaembu, Roland Kopp, Ronald De Boer, Marcel Oerlemans and Rene Higuita (goalkeeper); Coach: Ruud Gullit (coach).

Indian Dream XI: Bhaichung Bhutia, Renedy Singh, Bruno Coutinho, Calrton Chapman, I M Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri, Alvito D' Cunha, Dipendu Biswas, Basudeb Mondal, Godfrey Periera, Aqueel Ansari; Coach: Shyam Thapa.


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