Who says India has nothing to do with the Football World Cup? Here are 12 things that our country has to celebrate about the global football event!
1. India qualified for the 1950 World Cup after Burma, Indonesia and Philippines withdrew. But India declined the offer. Legend has it that it was because FIFA required players to wear shoes and Indians were used to playing barefoot!
2. Vikash Dhorasoo – a player of Indian origin – has played at the World Cup. He made a couple of appearances for France in 2006 when they reached the final.
3. Komaleeswaran Shankar is an Indian referee who has officiated in World Cup matches in 2002. He was the assistant referee in 3 group stage matches.
4. Former AIFF president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi was match commissioner in 2 World Cup matches in 2006. He was in charge of Spain vs Tunisia and Croatia vs Australia.
5. Mahindra Satyam was the official information technology service provider for the 2010 World Cup. The Indian IT company also took care of event management for the tournament.
6. The gown that Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie wore at her 2010 World Cup opening performance was designed by Indian fashion duo Shane and Falguni Peacock.
7. Bollywood music duo Salim and Sulaiman Merchant performed at the 2010 opening ceremony. They performed ‘Shukran Allah’ from ‘Kurbaan’ along with a song with African beats written by Salim’s wife Jeanne.
8. Jabulani, the official 2010 World Cup ball, had latex bladders that were made by New Delhi-based Enkay India Rubber Co. The rubber latex was sourced from Kerala.
9. Majid Baskar was the first-ever World Cupper to play in India. The midfielder who played for East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting was part of Iran’s 1978 World Cup squad.
10. South African winger Macdonald Mukansi played at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea. He was a substitute in the opening game against Paraguay. 5 years later, he joined East Bengal.
11. Nigerian Emeka Ezueugo is the only player to have played in a World Cup after playing in India. He played for East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting before playing in the 1994 World Cup.
12. Current Churchill Brothers striker Anthony Wolfe is the latest World Cupper to play in India. He represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 World Cup.
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