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Winners all at TFA World Cup carnival

Separated by more than 9,000 miles, united by unfailing fervour.

Around the same time when Sao Paulo hosts FIFA World Cup’s high-octane opener between home team Brazil and European challenger Croatia, Jharkhand’s elite sport city Jamshedpur will unleash an evening carnival complete with a nail-biting penalty shootout, rapper Pitbull’s 2014 theme song Ole Ola, a quiz and more.

Tata Football Academy’s wannabe Messis, Neymars, Hulks, Mullers and Riberys will descend on the greens to display their deft footwork in the first-of-its-kind event being hosted by the city soccer cradle. From among the 37 senior and junior cadets, 32 will represent the 32 countries participating in the World Cup. Each will be allowed to shoot thrice and the winner will be chosen through a series of elimination rounds, said sources at the TFA.

The high-voltage action on the ground will be balanced by brainteasers on the game for the audience comprising trainees of Tata Steel feeder centres and those learning finer nuances of the game at occasional Under-10 and Under-12 camps hosted by the academy.

“The carnival is meant to whip up the football fever and give our cadets the feel of what’s happening far away in Brazil. We are looking forward to making the maiden event a memorable one,” said Charles Borromeo, head of Tata Steel sports department with additional charge of TFA.

The cup carnival will kick off with a parade at 4pm by cadets and feeder centre trainees and conclude with the penalty shootout around two hours and a half later. “The boys will flaunt flags of each of the 32 participating World Cup countries. They will sport tees featuring the FIFA Cup and do rounds of the greens holding the ball,” Padma Shri Borromeo said.

He added that the national Tricolour and the flags of TFA and Scotland would also be part of the parade. “We have a tie-up with Sheffield United (Scotland), so, it has to be a part of the picture.”

According to the TFA mentor, the cadets were given four weeks to prepare booklets on a participating country of their choice.

They will be allowed to give a two-minute speech during the carnival based on their respective research on that country’s history and culture.

“We will hold a meeting to thrash out all details, including prizes,” Borromeo said, adding that Sunil Bhaskaran, vice-president (corporate services) of Tata Steel would be the chief guest on the occasion.