Kolkata

Stadium in Bengal’s Barasat named after Maradona

Genius at work: Maradona displays his famed skills during the football clinic in 2017.  

A stadium near Barasat, where Diego Maradona was last seen in action in India, was on Friday named after the football legend.

During his last visit to Kolkata three years ago, Maradona had conducted a football clinic with school children at the Aditya School of Sports in Kadambgachi on the outskirts of Barasat, about 35 kilometres from here.

“The stadium has now been converted into a full-fledged cricket stadium and we have named it ‘Diego Maradona Aditya School of Sports Cricket Stadium’,” chairman of Aditya Group Anirban Aditya told PTI.

“This is the first-ever cricket stadium in the Argentine football legend’s name. We also have special Maradona memorabilia in the changing room. The seat and the cloth hanger that Maradona used would now be preserved with his autographed No. 10 jersey.”

Intense session

Maradona was last seen in action in India on December 12, 2017 when he turned up in shorts on a humid afternoon playing with 60-odd school kids. He was seen drenched in sweat, pouring water on his head during the gruelling session.

He also crooned Spanish songs and inaugurated a seven-a-side exhibition match featuring former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly.

He was slated to feature in a match billed as ‘Diego vs Dada’ but by the time the match began, the 1986 World Cup-winning Argentine captain was completely drained out after the session with school kids.

Anirban said the stadium was built in four months and Maradona was the first sportsperson to step into it. “I remember taking Maradona from his hotel. He was tired but when he saw the crowd he became full of life. Initially, it was to be a 45-minute affair but it went on. He had promised he would be back and train the kids. So as a tribute to him we have named the stadium after him.”

Students heartbroken

Some of the students who had interacted with Maradona at the school were heartbroken.

“I had always heard of Maradona but never thought that we can touch him and play with the ‘God of Football’. It was completely magical.

“I will always remember the workshop that he took as the most remarkable event of my life, said 17-year-old Avita Sarkar of Aditya Academy Senior Secondary School.

“I was one of the lucky ones who got the football pass from Maradona. It was unbelievable,” said 18-year-old Aritra Sarkar.

Built on a 30-acre campus, the school conducted grass-roots programmes for Indian Super League franchise ATK Mohun Bagan.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 3:41:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/stadium-in-bengals-barasat-named-after-maradona/article33198617.ece

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