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Pele reaches Delhi, to grace Subroto Cup final tomorrow

Pele has reached Delhi for a 2 day visit.

Pele, upon his arrival at IGI airport

Delhi has had a chequered history with the beautiful game, from hosting the coveted Durand and DCM Cups to winning the Santosh Trophy, it was considered a force to reckon with till a while back. Over the years though, the standard of play has waned and albeit for the seven ISL matches that the capital hosts, there is little that footballing aficionados get to see in the city.

It thus is a moment of great joy and pleasure that one of the greatest footballers of all time, three time World Cup winner Pele has descended upon the city to grace the final of the ongoing Subroto Cup.

Having spent three days in Kolkata, he landed at the Indira Gandhi International terminal at 8.15 p.m. in an Air India flight. The 74-year-old was received at the airport by the organisers of Subroto Cup and around a 100 fans. Greeted by Air Force Sports Control Board secretary Vijay Yadav and director Souvik Bhattacharya, he was hastily escorted out of the premises.

Scheduled to spend two days here, he will be the chief guest of the Under-17 boys final match of the tourney at the Ambedkar Stadium on October 16.

Today, he will hold a press conference at a Gurgaon Hotel where he will be put up. The Air Force will also host a dinner in his honour on Thursday as part of a charity night at the same hotel. Three Indian sportspersons, who have already qualified for Rio Olympics 2016, will be felicitated in Pele’s presence.

Considering he has been unwell and has undergone a host of surgeries earlier this year, it is believed his interaction with the general public will remain sporadic.

Nevertheless, his very presence shall act as a major inspiration for the usually football-idle crowd here,

“Pele is coming to Delhi for the first time and we are expecting a big response from the football enthusiasts of the city. Subroto Cup tournament is in its 35th edition and this year, we thought we will do something new. That is why we have brought Pele here,” Wing Commander Vijay Yadav, organising secretary General of Subroto Cup International Football Tournament told the media.

“The idea was, we wanted to bring a big football star, past or present and we found out that Pele is available.

Nobody is more suitable than Pele to inspire this young school footballers and so brought Pele with the help of a sport management firm,” he added.

Confirming that they are expecting brimming support tomorrow, he added,“Since we are a non-profit society, we cannot sell tickets. So we have distributed complimentary passes and we are giving them to whoever wants to get them. There has been lots of request from several quarters, including schools in the city, and we are expecting a full house on October 16 final.”

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