Agra: Indian Super League (ISL) franchise Delhi Dynamos’ coach Roberto Carlos and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav have two things in common — both were born in the year 1973 and their love for football.
And as the two met over dinner at the presidential suite of the chief minister at Amar Vilas Palace hotel in Agra on Saturday night, the duo shared not only the mouth-watering Indian and Thai food cooked for them, but also the possibility of popularising the sport in the Hindi heartland. Both Akhilesh and Roberto gelled well at a sporting event held at the park called the Taj Nature’s walk, located near the famed Taj Mahal. The two chatted with each other as they unveiled T-shirts of Delhi Dynamos at the event. Yadav was visibly animated while talking to the 43-year-old football star, who spoke in broken English.
Sources said that though the chief minister was scheduled to fly back to Lucknow late on Saturday evening, he decided to stay back at Agra and have some “sporty chat” with the Brazillian legend, known as the “bullet man”, for his power-packed bending free kicks. Having dribbled and tossed a football at the event, the two hit it off really well, said a close aide of the chief minister. Carlos was thankful for the hospitality shown to him in the state. The chief minister is learnt to have discussed his passion for football, which he imbued when he was in college, and conveyed the need to popularise the sport in the state.
Carlos gave the chief minister some tips on running speed, technical skills, crossing abilities and ways to enhance stamina while playing, an aide told IANS. He was also briefed by the chief minister on how the state government was making serious and sustained efforts to promote traditional games like Kabaddi, Football and Wrestling. “I see immense potential and promise in this part of the world and am sure more and more sports persons from the state would find place in Delhi Dynamos”, Carlos said while pointing out that as of now two players — Robin Singh and Ravi Kumar — came from the state.
Later at a lavish dinner, including an assortment of dishes like Lasooni Palak, Penne Arrabiata, Tom Kha soup and Dahi-Pudine ke Kebab, the two promised to meet again and work in sync with an aim to make football more popular in the state. Dynamos team members seemed impressed by the “ease and simplicity” of the 43-year-old chief minister who was not only an avid fan of the sport but a player himself back in his student days.