Gurugram (Haryana) [India], May 7 (ANI): India football team captain Sunil Chhetri on Sunday conducted trials to pick up Indian kids to carry the match during the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia which is slated to get underway from June 14.
"I am overwhelmed to see the kind of talent these little kids have. They are not only just passionate about the game but are also well-versed about its nuances," Chettri said after the trials ended.
"I shall envy the kids who eventually go over to Russia to watch the game's greatest players in action. It will be a life-changing experience. I must thank Kia Motors for giving me the opportunity to interact with these kids and be part of such a wonderful initiative," he added.
Manohar Bhat, Head, Marketing and Sales, Kia Motors India said, "Kia Motor's prestigious association with the FIFA goes back to 2007 and it has been a mutually benefiting one. We are happy and privileged to have Sunil Chhetri with us as the jury, who not only selected the best of the best but also shared his learnings with the young football enthusiasts of the country. We truly hope that the Kia-FIFA experience will be a memorable one for them."
A total of 64 children from across the world are selected to be Official Match Ball Carriers (OMBC), with the lucky ones marching into the stadium and handing over the official ball before each match during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The 50 eager kids, who were accompanied by their parents, left no stone unturned to showcase their skills and impress the country's best footballer ever. The excitement was palpable as kids were tested on their footballing skills, their agility, attitude and confidence too.
The OMBC initiative was launched on April 10 in India, inviting footballers in the age-group of 10 to 14, to showcase their skills and win a chance to go to Russia as OMBC. Each aspiring kid's guardian was required to post a short video of their son or daughter in action on the official site, based on which 50 talented kids were invited to Delhi for the final selections.
Over 1,000 entries were received, including from many girls. Six of them will eventually be shortlisted for the trips, with two of them going as OMBC and four as spectators.
The unique initiative brought to India for the first time by Kia Motors, FIFA's official partner, will see six lucky children getting shortlisted and becoming part of the world's largest sporting extravaganza.
Each kid had to demonstrate his 'dribbling', 'juggling' and 'shooting' skills and also had to answer a set of sports-related questions. There was fun, excitement and rivalry in the air as the parents cheered their children and encouraged them to win a ticket to Russia.
The six chosen children will be introduced to India and the world at a glittering press conference later this month. (ANI)
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