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Monday, June 18, 2012

Chelsea Star Drogbe comes to India

This man’s appearance at the Capital has been a greatly followed event.  The venue was the ‘Thyagaraj Sport Complex’  owned by the Government, built as a venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.  It was designed by leading architects PTM of Australia and Kapoor&Associates of Delhi and named  after the South Indian music composer Saint  Thyagarajar, a rare honour indeed to the head of Musical Trinity.  It is India's first eco friendly sports complex.  He certainly created more than ripples – to those who follow Soccer, he is a great hero – though may not be as popular to Indians – that is Drogba.

Didier Yves Drogba Tébily (197
8) is an Ivorian footballer who plays as a centre forward for Chelsea.  Chelsea Football Club is an English football club based in Fulham, London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. Their home is the  Stamford Bridge stadium, where they have played since their establishment. Since 2003 they have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

Drogba is the captain and all-time top scorer of the Côte d'Ivoire national football team (Ivory Coast). He has scored more goals for Chelsea than any other foreign player and is currently Chelsea's fourth highest goal scorer of all time. He is said to be strong bodied, known for his ability in the air, and his ability to retain possession of the ball.  He made his debut when he was  18, a late bloomer,  he signed his first professional contract aged 21; it was not until the 2002–03 season that he realized his potential, scoring 17 goals in 34 appearances in Ligue 1 for Guingamp. In March 2012, Drogba scored his 100th Premier League goal, the first African player to reach the milestone.

He has captained the National team of Ivory Coast since 2006, leading them in 2006 World Cup, their first appearance in the tournament, and also scored their first goal. He was named African Footballer of the Year for 2006. Drogba was a part of the Côte d'Ivoire sides which reached the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2012, but were beaten on penalties on both occasions. As of 2012, he is the Côte d'Ivoire's all-time top scorer. More than the game, he is also credited with playing a vital role in bringing peace to his country, having a role in bringing the cease fire after five years of civil war. His involvement in the peace process led to Drogba being named as one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine for 2010.

This man was in National Capital, Delhi to promote 'T20' football but the wait for Didier Drogba stretched well beyond regulation time for the media, and into extra time.  After media conference he appeared in the grand finale of the Pepsi T20 Football event on Sunday- 17th June 2012. The Thyagraj Stadium, refurbished to host the netball event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was packed to capacity of 4,500 as fans came in droves to catch a glimpse of the Chelsea legend and top cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singhand Murali Vijay.  For a change, the cricket stars were also part of the fan brigade as they vied to get their pictures clicked with the Ivory Coast striker. The kind of over-enthusiasm that these cricketing idols displayed on Sunday was a rare spectacle.

It was revealed that Drogba, who has quit Chelsea after helping them win this year's Champions League crown, has very little idea about cricket apart from the fact that India are the world champions.  From to Chelsea to where was not revealed by the soccer star.   When it came to Indian challenge from the Cricketing Team – views were divergent.  They claim that they play lot of football in training session.  Kohli said, Dhoni is the ebst while the worst could Murali Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja. Dhoni though had a different take, saying, "The three best footballers in today's team will be Vijay, Harbhajan and Raina.’ The skills of Vijay, Bhajji and Raina were 'exposed' during the brief warm-up session as none of them could manage a single shot on goal from just three feet away! Indian soccer icon Baichung Bhutia, who was manning the net, only had to parry away one shot from Dhoni.

The crowd, no doubt, had a lot to cheer about. As for the 'competition', Delhi walked away as champions after pipping Punjab in the final.  So for a change, action shifted from Cricket to Football, though again the clamour was for the Cricket stars.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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