Maradona willing to help Indian football

December 6th, 2008 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 6 (IANS) Soccer legend Diego Maradona Saturday said he is open to helping India develop the game once his tenure as Argentina’s coach ends.”I am now on contract as coach of Argentina. Once the contract ends I would like to come to India and help improve the soccer infrastructure in this country,” Maradona said during a 45-minute freewheeling media conference here.

The ‘God of soccer’, who received a tumultuous welcome from thousands of fans since his arrival early Saturday, said he was touched by the affection of Kolkatans and would love to return to India.

“The affection I have received here has added to my will to return,” he said.

The 48-year-old Maradona who in the morning laid the foundation stone of the Indian Football School at Maheshtala, said: “We are discussing some projects, and if these discussions are fruitful I will come back.”

Asked how India should proceed to get its own Maradona, the hero of Argentina’s 1986 World Cup victory said: “I think a lot of attention and affection must be given to young players who are doing well. There is lot of competition in the world and India has a lot to achieve.”

Expressing his “whole-hearted” support to Indian football, he said: “I think stress should be given on infrastructural development.”

Maradona said he was moved by the love and affection showered on him here. “I really feel very emotional. I thought I have gone through enough experiences in this life. But after coming here I think there are more to come.”

When a scribe asked Maradona, whether he felt scared on seeing thousands of passionate soccer buffs here, he promptly replied: “No, I have never been scared in my life. On the contrary, I was very much surprised and pleased to see all those waiting for me.”

Maradona said one his reason to come to India was to visit the Mother House here. “I wanted to see what Mother Teresa has done in this city. So I want to utilise this trip to visit Mother House.”

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