Bhutia to play with Cannavaro in Laureus Football Challenge

Poonam Mehra

Abu Dhabi, Feb 6 (PTI) Bhaichung Bhutia will rubshoulders with legends such as Italy''s World Cup winningskipper Fabio Cannavaro and former Portuguese mid-fielder LuisFigo during a seven-a-side Laureus Football Challenge duringwhich the Indian''s team will have the legendary Sir BobbyCharlton as manager.

The one-hour contest, each half of 30 minutes, willfeature some of the top yesteryear footballers with the secondteam in fray to be managed by former Iraq coach BoraMilutinovic, who would have the legendary Franz Beckenbauer ashis assistant.

Charlton, England''s only World Cup winning captain, willbe managing the team featuring Bhutia and asked about theplayers in his squad, he said, "I feel extremely confidentabout winning tomorrow''s match because the players that I haveplay for the love of the game. They are passionate about thesport."

The other footballers, who would be seen in actiontomorrow include Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, whowould play for Charlton''s team, and Figo, set to turn out forMilutinovic''s side.

Watching from the sidelines would be former tennis aceand football enthusiast Boris Becker along with severalmembers of the Laureus Academy who are here for its annualsports awards to be presented tomorrow night.

Charlton, who was part of England''s failed bid forhosting the 2018 World Cup, was still bitter about losing itto Russia and did not quite agree with FIFA''s decision toaward the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

"That''s a sensitive issue. There are harsh weatherconditions in Qatar at that time and the neutrals are quitesurprised that they won the bid. I can''t say I am very happyabout the decision but (FIFA President) Sepp Blatter is apowerful man and he is surrounded by powerful people and wehave to abide by what they decide," he said.

Becker too felt that extreme heat in Qatar could make theregular June-July schedule difficult to adhere for theorganisers.

"If I am asked to play tennis at that time of the yearthere, I won''t do it but I guess solutions are being workedout," he said.

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