Brazil to train Indian footballers

When an emotional Prime Minister described India's relationship with Brazil, he may have had more than politics and economics on his mind.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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When an emotional Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described India's relationship with Brazil as having now "reached the level of a strategic partnership", he may have had more than politics and economics on his mind. Part of the nine agreements signed between India and Brazil, include one that will gladden the hearts of millions of football fans in India. The cultural agreement says the "two countries will co-operate in promoting exchanges in the field of football and training of Indian players and coaches." The move is a much-needed one as India is currently ranked 136 in football, exactly 135 places behind the world's number one team. " Increased interaction with other countries also applies to sports. If we are going to host the Commonwealth Games, if we aspire to host the Olympics then we must improve our own capabilities in sports. If such cooperation helps in getting coaches from other countries then there is nothing wrong," said Manmohan Singh. The Prime Minister said his Information and Broadcasting Minister and head of India's football federation, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, had specially requested him to ask for the Brazilians to share some of their football magic, "although this is not really a matter between two governments." This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Brazil in 38 years.