New Delhi: French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly, Colombian great Carlos Valderrama and Spain's Fernando Morientes, among others, will be part of the Trophy Experience on September 6 in Mumbai to mark 30 days to the start of the U-17 FIFA World Cup. Jorge Campos and Emmanuel Amuneke are the other two visiting the country.
India had earlier hosted Carles Puyol, Esteban Cambiasso and Nwankwo Kanu as part of the lead-up to the tournament. The legends will take part in the Mumbai leg of the Trophy Experience and will play in an exhibition match at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai to celebrate what is poised to be the biggest football tournament in India's history.
An iconic star of Colombian and South American football, Valderrama, 'El Pibe', played in three editions of the FIFA World Cup in a decorated career spanning more than two decades. Morientes featured in two editions of the FIFA World Cup for Spain and is fondly remembered for his three UEFA Champions League trophies with Real Madrid. Desailly was part of the French side that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and went on to captain Les Bleus to two FIFA Confederations Cup titles in 2001 and 2003, winning numerous other trophies along the way.
The striker-turned-goalkeeper Jorge Campos revolutionized the art of goalkeeping and was Mexico's undisputed first-choice custodian in successive editions of the FIFA World Cup USA 1994 and France 1998.
A former Nigeria international at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and Olympic gold medallist in 1996, Amuneke started a successful coaching career that saw him leading the Golden Eaglets to glory at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2015 in Chile. "The FIFA U-17 World Cup in India will be a milestone in the history of football. I look forward to joining the Trophy Experience, which will bring the excitement of this landmark event even closer to Indian fans.
"There are great expectations in Colombia ahead of the first participation of our team since Nigeria 2009," said FIFA legend Valderrama.
Expressing his delight at the prospect of hosting five FIFA legends during the Trophy Experience, LOC chairman and AIFF president Praful Patel said: "Starting today, we're just a month away from the biggest football tournament our country has witnessed.
"Immense effort has gone into the preparation, both on and off the pitch, and we're really close to seeing it all bear fruit. Today, as part of the ongoing Official Trophy Experience, we mark the final milestone in the run-up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.
"In a month's time, we hope to see spectators turn out in large numbers and play their part in putting India on the global footballing map."
The Trophy Experience will see the official winner's trophy visit all six host cities of the tournament, giving millions of Indians the chance to be part of the festival and to see the same trophy that will be lifted at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on 28 October.