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Emeka plans to bring Italy, Nigria World Cuppers for Rohingya charity match

Kolkata, Apr 3 (PTI) Former Nigeria international Emeka Ezeugo today announced his ambitious plan to organise a legends charity football match involving players of the 1994 World Cup finalists Italy to help Rohingya refugees.

Besides the likes of Paolo Maldini and Roberto Baggio, the Nigerian legends of the 1994 World Cup and former players of India and Bangladesh will feature in the exhibition matches, Emeka told reporters at the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club.

“I’ve already paid more than half of the appearance fees with my own pocket for the foreign teams. It’s a project and a work in progress. The entire team of Nigeria and Italy will take part,” the 50-year-old claimed.

The matches will be held in Kolkata and Dhaka, and after the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

“It’s not Emeka’s project. This is football’s project. All for the love for the football. The football family of the whole world which includes India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Italy. We are trying to reach out to Rohingya refugees,” he said.

As part of the charity programme, the Nigerian will also organise a ‘Run To the Aid of Rohingya Refugees’ in India and Bangladesh.

“The first phase of the charity project involves bringing to the consciousness of the whole world the plight of Rohingya people by running from Kolkata to Chittagong, then to Cox Bazar, Dhaka and return to Kolkata, traversing about 1500 kilometres,” he said in a media statement.

“Of course we will get sponsors. You guys will help me in getting sponsors. You will play massive role, sponsors will come in but that would not be enough to bring all these four teams together,” said Emeka who has played for Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting in the past.

He also appealed to the stakeholders of football in India, Bangladesh and around the world, the corporate to donate Rs 1000 for the ambitious project.

“Half of the funds is going be used to bring Nigerian national team, and the English national team of 1994 World Cup. To play here in India and also in Bangladesh. There going to be auctions also. They are going to help me to raise a lot of money,” he said.

He also hoped to get the support of governments of both the countries.

“I’ve not talked to the PMO. But that would not be a problem at all. The moment Emeka is on the road, I can tell you the PM of India will be calling me. He will be looking for me to speak to me.

“When the entire money is raised, I’m not going to run away. I will invite the Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh together and hand over the money to the Rohingya refugees,” he said

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