British schoolboys in Goa for football ties (With image)

October 20th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Oct 20 (IANS) A group of schoolboys from the city of Leicester in southeast England arrived in Goa Monday to take part in matches and a historic twinning arrangement with India.After what was described as “a long and entertaining flight”, the boys touched down in Goa and were greeted by Goa Football Association officials and garlanded in the traditional Indian way.

The Leicester India Football Link (LIFL) has been planned for the last two years and is supported by many local Leicester businesses. It represents a unique partnership between Leicester City Football Club (LCFC) and the local community.

The team, called Leicester United, was selected after intensive coaching sessions by LCFC - a much-loved team in a city that is often called Little India for its large population of Indian-origin people.

The team have been playing volleyball in the pool and are all geared up for their first game, leading up to the Spice Jet Cup final, when they play a Goa FA All Stars team Friday.

LCFC Ambassador Alan Birchenall, who is accompanying the team said: “It’s great to be here, we have had such a fantastic welcome, the team feel like celebrities! I am looking forward to seeing the standard of the Goa team and how our boys compare. There is clearly a common love of football between Leicester and Goa!”

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, who is an LIFL patron and a keen Leicester City supporter, will be flying out to India Tuesday. The Cup will be presented by the British deputy high commissioner to India and the chief minister of Goa.

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