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The head honcho of the beverage brand believes that the world’s most popular game is expanding its base in the country…

Venkatesh Kini, Deputy President, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, stated that their association with sports and football in particular was to inspire a generation.

He explained his point through a video presentation wherein it showed how millions across the world began printing number 10 behind their jerseys following Zico’s exploits in the 1982 World Cup and how the number of people who took up sports grew by 15 percent after the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

“The idea is to inspire a generation as sports and in many ways, football is a metaphor for life,” he said on as to why Coca-Cola, along with FIFA, chose to bring the World Cup to India.

“In 2007, we associated with Mir Iqbal Trophy which is an under-15 grassroots national tournament at a time when corporates were hesitant to invest in football. What I have observed is that the popularity of football is growing here and is here to stay.”

He mentioned of the need of three stakeholders to come together in order to make the U-17 World Cup which India is to host a success.

“The triangle of civil society, business houses and the government need to work together. If they work together, we can make football aspirational in India.”

He hoped that the World Cup trophy Tour would act as a catalyst to promote the grassroot football activities in the country.

“There could not have been a better time to bring the FIFA World Cup Trophy to come to India. The excitement is palpable, now that India will be hosting the FIFA U-17 Football World Cup in 2017.The Trophy Tour will further catalyze our efforts to promote grassroots football in India where we are currently partnering AIFF in hosting the Coca-Cola Under-15 football cup. I visualize some great years ahead for football in India.”

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