Rishi Tej, an Indian kid from Karnataka, created history by becoming the first-ever Indian to carry official match ball to the field of Fisht Stadium in Sochi on Monday. The 10-year-old boy carried the official ball to the field before the match between Belgium and Panama — a team making their FIFA World Cup debut.
All this happened through an initiative by Kia Motors who are the automotive partner of FIFA World Cup 2018. As a part of their Official Match Ball Carrier Program, they gave young Indian Football players, between the age of 10-14 years, a chance to experience the moment of being the Official Match Ball Carrier at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Two kids, including Rishi Tej, were selected by the Indian Football team captain Sunil Chhetri to be the Official Match Ball Carrier (OMBC).
Great to see India’s 1st ever Official Match Ball Carrier at the @FIFAWorldCup thanks to @KiaMotorsIN. Super initiative. Well done Rishi Tej from #bengaluru. @chetrisunil11 @squareConsult #football #lifetimeopportunity #worldcup #FifaWorldCup18 pic.twitter.com/mXUkw0Oium
— Vishal Jhunjhunwala (@vj2w) June 18, 2018
“I am overwhelmed to see the kind of talent these little kids have. They are not only just passionate about the game but are also well-versed about its nuances,” Chhetri was quoted by PTI as saying.
— Saffin (@saff009) June 18, 2018
The other youngster is a girl named Nathania John K from Tamil Nadu who is 11 years old and will be India’s first girl to be the OMBC in the FIFA World Cup. She will be carrying the official match ball before the match between Brazil and Costa Rica on 22nd June at St Petersburg, which will be the second Group E match for both teams.
— Aritra Ghosh (@AritroGhosh3) June 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Belgium registered an easy 3-0 win over Panama.