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Red Road: FIFA U-17 World Cup gets pride of place

Young talents showcase dribbling prowess, perform breathtaking juggling with footballs and photos of the game’s legends were proudly displayed at the grand immersion carnival.

Kolkata: "Sab khelar sera Bangalir tumi football", these immortal lines from the song from Bengali movie Dhonni Meye once again came to life at the Red Road Carnival which marked the conclusion of Bengal's biggest festival, Durga Puja, with almost all Puja organisers leaving no stone unturned to promote the forthcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup in their own way in the carnival on Tuesday.
Kolkata is going to host 10 matches of the international tournament including the final. The tournament is going to start from October 6. So there could not have been a better platform than Tuesday's grand carnival to once again prove Bengal's love for the game.
It was Kalighat Milan Sangha in whose procession veteran footballers from the state were found marching ahead with Indian flags along with some current players constantly juggling footballs. Similarly, College Square Sarbojonin Durgotsav Committee promoted the event by installing a huge sized football with the World Cup logo painted on it on the top of a tableau and interestingly, the football was revolving.
Durga Puja organisers, including Chakraberia Sarbojonin Durgotsav, Netaji Jatio Seba Dal and Bhowanipore 75 Palli prepared separate tableaux with the logo of the Under-17 World Cup and flags of the countries participating in the tournament.
Going a step ahead, Puja organisers like Hatibagan Sarbojanin set up a goal post on a tableau to mark the forthcoming international event for which the state government has turned the Swami Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Stadium to international standard.
The tableaux based on the theme of the Under-17 World Cup of Suruchi Sangha, Naktala Uday Sangha and Chetla Agrani was lauded by the people for its uniqueness.
Footballers juggling the balls was the centre of attraction of the entire event. Ahead of the tableaux of many Puja organisers, such footballers from their areas were found entertaining people with their juggling skills besides promoting the Under-17 World Cup.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had composed a song to promote the international event which was found being played by many Puja organisers when the tableaux based on the World Cup theme passed the main podium during the grand carnival.
Ultadanga Pallishree was the only Puja organiser ahead of whose tableau a woman footballer was found juggling football to encourage more girls to get involved in the game.
Many Puja organisers installed special lighting arrangement based exclusively on the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup on their tableaux.
The cheer for football amidst "bolo durga mai ki jai" and "asche bachchor abar hobe" created a surreal environment, said Sanghita Ghosh, a spectator, who came from Hooghly to watch the grand immersion spectacle.
Manoj Dhara, a resident of South Kolkata, said: "I would like to thank Mamata Banerjee government for her effort to promote the state's culture by making such a huge arrangement."

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