Kolkata: Brazilian football legend Pele will relive the moments he had in the city 38 years ago when he will visit Eden Gardens before felicitating the 1977 batch of Mohun Bagan team, who had the fortune of playing against the Black Pearl’s New York Cosmos at the 80,000-capacity stadium.
Detailing out his three-day stay in city before he heads to New Delhi, the organisers today said Pele will attend a star-studded Legend’s Night with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and former India captain Sourav Ganguly. The Subrata Bhattacharya-led Mohun Bagan team that played out a 2-2 draw against New York Cosmos on that historic day of September 24, 1977 will also be present at the Legend’s Night’ at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on October 12.
Pele will take a detour of Eden Gardens en route to the Netaji Indoor Stadium as the Cricket Association of Bengal will felicitate the Brazilian legend in a royal manner. It’s really unfortunate that we have lost our president Jagmohan Dalmiya who would have felicitated Pele ahead of his 75th birthday on October 23. But we’ll do our best and do it in such a royal manner that his return to the Eden will leave a lasting impression,” CAB treasurer Biswarup Dey said at the announcement.
In a video message, Pele has said: “I’m looking forward to my visit to Kolkata after 38 years, and during the time of Durga Puja.” According to the organisers, city entrepreneur Satadru Dutta had met Pele twice to chalk out the plan to bring him to Kolkata 38 years after he had charmed the football lovers. There had been apprehension regarding his health as he had a back surgery but having met him I can assure you that he’s in perfect health and there’s no concern. In a lighter vein, he told me, ‘I can still score goals if you stand under the bar’,” Dutta told reporters.
Pele will reach here on October 11 morning which will be a rest day. It’s a long 24 hours travel so there will be nothing lined up on the first day.” Pele’s visit is part of the first edition of the ‘Legends Tour of India’ conceptualised by Multicon Group and NSHM Knowledge Campus where the Brazilian legend will interact with about 1200 students before heading to Netaji Indoor Stadium on October 12. “We’ll also unveil a sculpture of Pele and there will be other series of programme at our Tollygunge campus. We believe its the sportsperson who ‘Inspire the Champions in You’ — the title of the interactive session,” Cecil Antony chief mentor of NSHM Knowledge Campus said.
Multicon Group Chairman Dileep Singh Mehta said they plan to make the ‘Legends Tour of India’ an annual affair. “It will keep going as we want to make it much more powerful and stronger from next year,” Singh Mehta said. The organisers also unveiled a customised No 10 Pele jersey signed by the Brazilian himself, and unveiled a host of sponsors for the Tour. “In the next couple of days, we will get to see more promotional programme across the city,” an organiser announced. On the final day of his city tour, Pele will be the guest of honour at defending champions Atletico de Kolkata’s first home match at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan on October 13.