Seriously funny Bollywood football in Singapore

By Fakir Hassen, IANS
5/24/2004 12:00:00 AM
If Abhishek Bachchan  starts looking for an alternative career, it definitely will not be as a footballer.

Starting out as perhaps the most enthusiastic of the host of Bollywood stars participating in the IIFA Charity Football match at the Jalan Besar stadium here Friday, Abhishek, playing as goalkeeper in Team B of Sanjay Dutt, let in the first goal in just the third minute.

By the end of the first half, he had allowed in three more.

But as Team A skipper Anil Kapoor pointed out at the start of the match, it was just a fun game in aid of charity - so Abhishek need probably not be too worried about unemployment!

Dino Morea, however, might well consider an offer from a football team as he notched up a hat trick for his side, and added a fourth goal to help himself to the Top Scorer Award.

After a pep talk during half time by Preity Zinta, Team B rallied to score two goals within the first 10 minutes and a third one a few minutes later.

Australian cricket star Shane Lee bagged two of those goals and could have been on a hat trick with a free kick that would have made David Beckham proud.

But things began flagging again for Dutt's side as the opposition made it 5-2 with just 13 minutes left. Zayed Khan struck a near post shot that whizzed past Feroz Khan who had replaced Abhishek in the goal.

Four minutes later, Feroz Khan was picking the ball out of his net again as Anil Kapoor's son Harsh scored his first goal to make it 6-3.

The scoring wasn't over however with Lee getting a late consolation to make the final score 6-4.

Shakti Kapoor tried hard to keep the ball getting into the opponents hands, but standing on the ball rather than passing it on did not help his side much.

Mahesh Manjrekar played as creatively as the films he makes, but his final pass often let him down and he failed to secure enough support from his team. He did get one goal though and that was more than either Dutt or Abhishek.

But after the game, the truth about the strength of the winning Team A emerged - there were several former Singaporean players in the side!

Throwing around a ball and donning a football shirt brought to her, Preity threatened to go onto the field, but only if she could get some shorts, which nobody seemed to be able to find.

In the spirit of camaraderie that prevailed during the half time break, Abhishek joked: "In front of the press, I want to say that these guys have beaten us!"

The crowd of about 3,500 people enjoyed every minute of the game, at the same time helping fill the coffers of the IIFA Foundation, which will benefit from the proceeds of the Charity Soccer Match. The Foundation assists people in need in the Indian film industry.

Accepting the winners' trophy, Anil Kapoor said both teams played well, but it was actually the people of Singapore who had actually won.

Zayed Khan was named Man of the Match.