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“Playing football for humanity”

Madhur Tankha
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Fun practice session:Bollywood star and All-Star Football Club vice-captain Ranbir Kapoor with children from Magic Bus India Foundation in New Delhi on Thursday.- Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
Fun practice session:Bollywood star and All-Star Football Club vice-captain Ranbir Kapoor with children from Magic Bus India Foundation in New Delhi on Thursday.- Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor on Thursday extended support to non-government organisation Magic Bus India Foundation through a charity football match scheduled to be played between cricketers and members of the film fraternity at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here this Saturday.

After wrapping up a fun practice session with marginalised children of the NGO, the young actor said: “I have supported this NGO earlier. It is a great institution which has encouraged sports. It is important to play sports as it teaches discipline, team work, trusting people and understanding game strategy. I have been playing football for the past two months. I met cricketers M. S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli recently and they asked me how good the actors are in this sport. It is not about winning or losing; we are playing for humanity.”

Describing football as his favourite game, Ranbir, who is the vice-captain of All-Star Football Club, said he would like to believe that he is the best footballer in the country.

“I used to play this game during my school days and carry football wherever I travelled. We have such a large country but it is shameful that we cannot gift grounds and other sporting infrastructure to the youth. Unfortunately the Government has not created infrastructure for sports,” he said.

Professional footballer of international fame Baichung Bhutia has been giving tips to the Bollywood actor. “We have Abhishek Bachchan, who is a big guy, as our Captain. He will look after our defence. As a Captain one has to take responsibilities. He has to take decisions like which player to substitute and Abhishek will be a good Captain. Then we have Leander Paes and Dino Morea. Among cricketers the best footballers are Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. We would like to win this game but it would not be easy,” said the actor at an event at India Habitat Centre here.

Asked to react to beleaguered actor Sanjay Dutt’s reported statement that he would not seek pardon following the sentence imposed on him by the highest court of the land, Ranbir said: “Sanjay Dutt has to pay the price for his actions. However, on a personal level we share a wonderful relationship. I can say that he is a wonderful human being and a good-hearted man.”

Magic Bus founder Matthew Spacie said his Indian NGO has registered 250,000 children from 8 to 18 years who have been availing themselves of its programmes designed to uplift them. “These programmes from childhood to livelihood were started in 1999. We give underprivileged children role models who disseminate knowledge and explain the need to study and lead a healthy life. We encourage girls to go back to schools. In Delhi, 80,000 children from marginalised communities have registered with us.”

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