Diego Maradona leaves Sourav Ganguly disappointed, skips charity match

A poorly-organised show meant that the 57-year-old became tired on an unusually sultry December afternoon.

Barasat: Diego Maradona may have made the trip to the city after several postponements, but the Argentine legend on Tuesday skipped the much-hyped 'Diego versus Dada' exhibition match, leaving cricket icon Sourav Ganguly disappointed.

A poorly-organised show meant that the 57-year-old became tired on an unusually sultry December afternoon and left after just kicking off the match and exchanging pleasantries with Ganguly and his team.

Ganguly, who watched Maradona's 1986 World Cup triumph, thus missed out on a chance to play against his childhood icon.

"It would have been great to have played with him but he could not play," Ganguly said after featuring in the seven-a- side exhibition match.

"Age has caught up with him but he's too good a player. I'm a huge, huge fan of his, I have seen him win the World Cup in 1986. It was a treat to see him from close quarters."

The 'Diego vs Dada' match in the outskirts of Kolkata was the central theme of Maradona's three-day trip who is here for the second time after his euphoric 2008 visit.

The match was to be followed by a football workshop with school children, but it went on and on, leaving Maradona visibly tired and dripping with sweat.

There was no stage on the ground and Maradona was seen coming in and out of the dugout.

On his last visit, Maradona was ferried by a chopper to Maheshtala, situated on the outskirts of the city for a similar football workshop.

But this time he endured a bumpy 35-km ride on a potholed road to a remote place called Kadambgachi.

When the 40-minute match was about to start, Maradona had little energy left to play.

He, however, lined up both the teams and kick-started the proceedings.

The spectators chanted Diego Diego, as well as Ganguly Ganguly, who played in his jeans.

Ganguly played for both the sides, first turning up in whites and then slipping on to a blue jersey.

Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary also took part in the match, which also included former medium pacer Shib Shankar Paul.

A host of former footballers including the likes of Shyam Thapa, Prasun Banerjee, Sishir Ghosh, Debjit Ghosh, Biswajit Bhattacharya, Hemanta Dora, Dipendu Biswas, Alvito d'Cunha and Abhijit Mondal were also present on the occasion.

( Source : PTI )
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