There was a goof-up by the Indian football organiser during a function to honour the Indian footballing greats by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.
Prime Minister Modi was honouring the Indian football legends just before India’s U-17 World Cup match against USA in Delhi when former goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly was not called for felicitation despite his name being there in the list.
Among those who Modi honoured were the captains of Indian football teams that played in the Asian Games. But when Ganguly’s name was called after PK Banerjee and Syed Nayeemuddin, Rajasthan footballer Magan Singh Rajvi came out and received the shawl and memento from the Prime Minister. Others felicitated by the Prime Minister also included IM Vijayan, Bhaichuing Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri and Bembem Devi.
“There was a mix-up but as soon as we came to know of it, we decided to rectify it. Bhaskar was later felicitated privately at the half-time of the India vs USA match. We also apologised to him for the incident,” an official from the organisers of the felicitation ceremony told PTI.
PM Modi presented all of them with a shawl and a memento.
AIFF president Praful Patel, who was standing next to Modi during the function, didn’t interrupt and let the blunder play out. Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also attended the function. The Tribune website quoted an AIFF official as saying, “Perhaps Patel doesn’t know Singh and Ganguly. Otherwise, he would have told the PM. You can’t blame him much since he is a politician first and a sports administrator later.”
Meanwhile, there were also reports of at least six schoolchildren fainting while several others having a harrowing time due to the non-availability of free drinking water at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi, the venue for the opening day of the U-17 World Cup.