FIFA chief to get a taste of India
From watching a Odishi dance recital, to savouring Bengal's fish delicacies and donning a kurta and pyjama, FIFA chief Gianni Infantino and other officials of the world soccer governing body would experience various shades of India at a dinner hosted by the West Bengal government on Friday.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has declared Infantino as a state guest, would felicitate him ahead of the dinner at the Eco Park in the Rajarhat area on the city's north eastern fringes.
Reputed Odishi dancer Dona Ganguly, the wife of former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, would welcome Infantino through a 10-minute performance where 30 members of her troupe would also take part.
State government sources said her performance would highlight Indian culture.
Besides Infantino, all other 36 FIFA council members, All India Football Federation officials including its President Praful Patel, Bengal's leading cultural personalities and industrialists would take part in the hour-long function.
Infantino and other male members of the FIFA council would put on black kurtas, black pyjamas and electric blue trousers designed by Agnimitra Pal.
The female members would be in traditional Indian wear. "They will also put on ethnic bangles and ear-rings designed by me," Pal told IANS.
"This is our gift to them - a piece of India," said the reputed fashion designer, who was requisitioned by Patel one and a half months back to design the attires.
The dinner spread includes Bekti paturi, pabda and prawn delicacies, along with chicken and mutton preparations.
Infantino, who arrived here on Thursday morning, was received by Patel and state Sports Minister Aroop Biswas at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
On Friday, he will preside over the FIFA Council meeting that is slated to be held at a plush five star hotel from 9 a.m. The FIFA boss will address the media at 4 p.m.
On Saturday, Infantino and other FIFA officials would attend the final match of the Under-17 FIFA World Cup between England and Spain.