Ten Sports to light up Fridays with football

MUMBAI: Thanks to Bend it like Beckham, Football has managed to squirm in the space hitherto occupied by Cricket. With East Bengal winning the LG ASEAN Cup in Jakarta, football is definitely the flavour of the month.

Starting 1 August, Ten Sports will be cashing on the fevour with 13 episode series History of Football, says a company release. The special series showcasing the international history of the game, will be airing every Friday at 4 pm and 9:30 pm.

Within the span of 13 episodes, Taj Media's broadcasting arm will transverse the history, the excitement, passion and wealth of the sport. The first episode aptly titled Superstars takes a look at careers of players who have risen above the rest and left their indelible and lasting mark on the history of football. The key interviews include Diego Maradona, Alfredo di Stefano, Pelé, and Zinedine Zidane.

In the second episode Origins, the sports channel will be tracing the early history of football, from the influences that led to the formation of the Football Association in 1863, to how football spread in Britain and the rest of the world. With major football stars and social historians talking about football’s unique appeal, the programme should be an informative watch.

During the course of the episode, the channel, will aim to unravel why Germany, the three times World Cup winners, initially shunned the sport for being 'un-Germanic'. The celebrity interviews, in the second episode, include Hugo Sanchez, Alfredo di Stefano and other key historians.

The next episode- Brazil, explores the country's (Brazil’s) dominance on the field, along with a special report on the violent and racist side of Brazilian football. The special report include the drama that followed, after Brazil lost the 1950 World Cup Final to Uruguay. How the Brazilian public blamed the three black team players, especially goalkeeper Barbosa. Zico, Mario Zagallo, Didi, Pele, Socrates, Zizinho, Roberto Rivelino and Tele Santana will be speaking about what really went wrong that year.

In the fourth episode -Football cultures, topics like football’s role within international cultures, combining religion in Iran, with economics in America, and politics in Spain and Ghana will be touched upon. Celebrities interviewee's include Luis Suarez, Alfredo di Stefano, Carles Rexach, Jose Angel Iribar, Francisco Gento, Andoni Zubizarreta, Clive Toye, Phil Woosnam, Pele, Abedi Pele, and Henry Kissinger.

The European Game charts the major trends that helped shape the development of European football into the game it is today. The high point of the episode include interviews with Europe’s greatest goal-scorer of all time, Pepi Bican, 1936 Olympic Gold Medallist and 1938 World Cup winner Pietro Rava, Alberto Pozzo, son of the legendary Vittorio Pozzo; and Nandor Hidegkuti and Gyula Grosics, surviving players from the great Hungarian team of the 1950’s.

The sixth episode European Superpowers profiles teams that have changed football history: Real Madrid in the 1950’s, the Dutch and Germans of the 1970’s, Liverpool in the 1980’s,and Milan and the French national teams of the 1990’s.

Alfredo di Stefano, Fransisco Gento, Giacinto Facchetti, Jimmy Johnstone, Sir Bobby Charlton, Phil Neal, Kenny Daglish, Paolo Rossi, Jurgen Klinsmann, Paolo Maldini, Alan Shearer, Oliver Bierhoff, Aimé Jacquet and Zinedine Zidane, will be the special guest of the episode.

Taking a cue from Pele's statement that an African country would win a World Cup by the turn of the 21st century, the next eposode Africa will look into why despite their huge potential, these developing football nations have yet to make their mark on the world game. Interviews include Roger Milla, Abedi Pele, Thomas N’kono, Neil Tovey, Pierre Kalala and Issa Hayatou.

With South American countries have won eight World Cups, South American Superpowers focuses on the teams that have changed the course of football history. In the ninth episode For club and country, the sports channel will chart the trials and tribulations of French football. It will also examined is the evolution of Juventus into one of the world’s 'superclubs'.

Dwight Yorke will be talking about balancing the requirements of Manchester United with Trinidad, and Sir Alex Ferguson discusses the changes he’s seen at Manchester United, the first billion pound club. The episode key interviews include the first ever World Cup goal scorer Lucien Laurent , Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Fernando Hierro, Zidane, Aimé Jacquet, Roberto Bettega, Dino Zoff.

The tenth episode Media, looks at the media’s role in football. The interviews including George Best and Jurgen Klinsmann, who will talk ills of paparazzi.

In the next episode, A game for all, the focus will be on the history of FIFA and other powerbrokers, that influence the spread of the game culturally as well as commercially.

While in the twelth episode,The dark side, will string all the events and stories that have made headline news; tragedies that have brought communities together, a war sparked by a match, and hooliganism that has threatened the very existence of the game. The interviewee list for this episode includes Sauro Toma, relatives of the Hillsborough victims, Bill Foulkes, and relatives of the Zambian aircrash team.

While in the last episode, Taj Media's broadcasting arm will be looking at the Future of the game and lessons to be learnt from the past In a special interview, Zico and Kazu will be commenting on how they feel about sharing the limelight with a comic book hero.

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