Calcutta: It was a starry Sunday afternoon at a plush city hotel, here. Two of the biggest icons of Indian cricket — Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly — shared the stage with the greatest trophy in world football — World Cup and a legend, who responds to the name of Carlos Alberto Torres.
The occasion was Coca-Cola’s Fifa World Cup Trophy Tour and both India cricketers chose to speak on soccer.
Sachin said that with the under-17 World Cup coming to India in 2017, qualifying for the 2022 senior main event is a realistic target for the country. “2022 sounds like a realistic target… We are hosting the 2017 World Cup, so it sounds realistic... I would like to believe that,” Sachin said.
“We need to focus on the process… We cannot look to go directly to the 100th floor... To participate in a big tournament like the World Cup is something that does not happen overnight. It’s a journey and there’s a process. As I mentioned, the platform has to be provided to the young talent,” The Master added.
“We need to attain that level. The system has to be put in place. Then only we can expect them to compete at that level. We can’t obviously expect them to go out and thrash the rest of the world. As long those steps are in order, the results will follow,” he said.
Sachin, in town for the first time since his retirement, said the icing on the cake is winning a World Cup. “I don't think it’s only cricket, but in every sport. Lifting the World Cup — it does not get better than that. It’s the dream of every sportsman,” he said
“I cannot forget that moment in Mumbai... The atmosphere was so unreal. To win the World Cup at home was the best thing to have happened to me... The golden moment was when I held the trophy in my hands. That’s what I played for. Then, I realised that my life has turned a full circle... This was on the top... It was the icing on the cake.”
Sourav, too, felt the U-17 Cup in 2017 will give the country a huge boost. “I’m sure the 2017 World Cup will give a big push to the sport (in the country). It will bring young kids back to the football fields. I know cricket attracts a lot of kids who want to be like Sachin, or nowadays Virat Kohli,” he said.
Batting for Brazil, Sourav said: “Football in Brazil is unique… Football is at its best when Brazil are at their best. They have the team to win the trophy. I’m keen to watch Neymar who has set the world on fire. Hope he stays fit.”
Welcoming former Brazil captain Carlos Alberto Torres, who took home the Jules Rimet Trophy after Brazil won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, the lefthander further hoped that Brazil would be at their best when they host the next year’s World Cup. “It’s great to have Carlos Alberto (Torres) here. It’s great to see Brazil host the World Cup.”
Venkatesh Kini, deputy president Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, was also present during the occasion.