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Politics can wait, it’s football time

While the city is already in football mode, politicians, who love the game, cannot hide their excitement as the month-long carnival of the most popular sport has got rolling in Brazil. Despite their busy schedule, The Telegraph caught up with some of the leaders to know about their favourite teams and players

Debendra Kanhar

The former Phulbani MLA has represented Berhampur University in football

Rooting for: Spain

“The defending champions are a strong contender for this year’s World Cup and I am very much hopeful that the team will make it to the finals.”

Favourite players: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Lionel Messi (Argentina)

“I will watch the matches with my family members. However for the final match, we will witness the telecast of the match on a giant screen at a football ground in our district. Last year, too, we had watched the final match on the giant screen along with football lovers of my area.”

Pritiranjan Ghadei

The Sukinda MLA is a regular in the legislators’ football team

Rooting for: Brazil and Argentina

“Both the teams are well balanced and have a number of talented young players. I am hopeful that both the teams will live up to the expectations.”

Favourite players: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Neymar (Brazil)

“I have been following the sports since my school days. Despite my busy schedule, I will watch the World Cup matches with my family members who also love watching football.”

Sarat Patnaik

The former state Congress president has led the Gangadhar Meher College football team. He has also represented Balangir and Sambalpur districts in football

Rooting for: Germany and Argentina

“Germany has players who are good at both attacking and defending. It would definitely pose threat for other teams.”

Favourite players: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

“I was very much popular in my college days for this sports and I never miss any opportunity to watch a football match. Though the matches are scheduled to take place late in the night, I will not miss the chance to witness the live telecast of matches. We are also planning to watch a few matches on giant screen outside Odisha.”

Ramachandra Hansdah

This MP from Mayurbhanj has represented erstwhile Regional Engineering College, Rourkela, in football

Rooting for: Spain

“The defending champions are also favourite to win this year’s title because of their teamwork. Hope to see them put in another good show this year.”

Favourite player: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

“Being an ardent lover of the sports, I had watched most matches of last edition of the World Cup. However this time, my busy schedule will be a deterrent. Still, I will like to watch matches of my favourite team Spain. I am also planning to install giant screens in few areas of my constituency to popularise the game.”

Jhina Hikaka

This MP from Koraput is a regular in the legislators’ football team

Rooting for: Brazil

“I have been supporting the team during last two World Cups and this year, too, I will root for Brazil. This country has given football a number of legendary footballer.”

Favourite player: Neymar (Brazil)

“I always love to watch football matches with my family. But as I am a first-time MP, I will spend most of my time in New Delhi during the World Cup. But still hope that I will be able to watch matches of my favourite team with my family members.”

Text by Lelin Kumar Mullick

Illustration by Sumitro Basak