I had a dream. I am dressed to the nines, but not in black suit and pleated trousers, but in a colourful jersey and football shorts, with an even more attractive boots to go with it. The spikes of the boots dig into a well-cropped turf and around me are array of seats of a giant arena; seated on them are my loved ones, celebrated movie stars and football coaches and pundits, not to mention the countless other spectators. All of them there to watch me play.
Who am I? I am me, but I could be you, or I could be anyone with a moment to spare for a dream. Who I am not is a lucky youngster getting ready for the HT GIFA (Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action), and I am deeply envious; for he/she will live my dream at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Gurgaon on Sunday.
Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, dancing maestro Prabhudeva, cricket superstar Virender Sehwag and the folks who speak the language of football from the famed FCBEscola, the academy under the aegis of FC Barcelona, would all converge at the stadium on the evening, to encourage and kickstart an event that promises to be the perfect launch pad for some promising football talent of the Delhi-NCR and Gurgaon region.
A youngster practicing his spot-kick skills. (Sanjeev Verma, Abhinav Saha/HT Photo)
Time for real deal
The youngsters participating at the HT GIFA have been undergoing rigorous practice over the last month, overseen by some of the smartest coaches of the game from the FCBEscola. They polished their dribbling skills, learned the importance of tactical discipline and attempted their versions of the Zidane pirouette.
Trainers from FC Barcelona's FCBEscola academy oversee the progress. (Sanjeev Verma, Abhinav Saha/HT Photo)
A youngster working on controlling the ball. (Sanjeev Verma, Abhinav Saha/HT Photo)
With the GIFA set to begin on Sunday, it is time to bring the goods of all that hours of practice on to the pitch. But before the real deal, a celebration of the sport is on demand, and Sunday evening is the time for that.
The opening ceremony at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium promises to be a concoction of arts, sports and good old entertainment, and would be compered by popular TV personality, Manish Paul. Hindi band Astitva would provide the musical notes for the evening.