Gullit, Valderrama to play against Bhutia, IM Vijayan today

Gangtok: Soccer greats of yesteryears like Ruud Gullit and Carlos Valderrama will be playing an exhibition match here against a side led by Bhaichung Bhutia on Sunday.

To be played at the Paljor Stadium, the match would bring back Indian players like Shyam Thapa, IM Vijayan and Joe Paul Ancheri in Bhutia`s team United Sikkim Football Club. Following a meeting today, organisers Super Football Organizing Committee said Super Stars XI would include Gullit, Regi Blinker and Marcel Oerlemans (Holland), Valderrama (Columbia), Christian Karembu (France), Ali Dael (Iran), Ronals Kopp (Germany) and Jimmy Silvestor (Venezeula).

Other celebrities to grace the occasion include Rudolf Schenker from the famous rock group Scorpions, World Motor Sports Champion Tim Tranker and Bollywood celebs like Rahul Bose and Neha Duphia.

The match was originally scheduled to be played in Kolkata but it was postponed due to unavoidable circumstances, Bhutia said adding it was a good opportunity for the local players to play against the legends and World Cuppers.

Official sources said the state government was providing logistic support to the event with a hope that it would put Sikkim back on the world tourism map after the September 18 earthquake that left around 100 people killed.

The state government has also exempted the event from paying entertainment tax, Sports Minister N K Pradhan said. Pointing out that tourist arrivals had fallen substantially since the earthquake, Pradhan said the presence of such great personalities from across to the world in Sikkim would fetch positive coverage and boost tourism.