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Brazil footballing legend Zico to coach in new India league

AFP, Wednesday 3 Sep 2014
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Brazilian legend Zico has signed up to coach a team in the Indian Super League, joining other former stars in the new franchise-based venture to be played later this year.

Zico, 61, who played in three World Cups and has coached around the world, will manage the Goa franchise for the 10-week tournament that begins in October.

The tournament has been modelled along the lines of cricket's cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) and hopes to raise football's profile in the cricket-mad nation.

Zico, one of Brazil's great exponents of "the beautiful game" who played in World Cups from 1978 to 1986, signed the contract in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, a statement from Goa franchise said.

"FC Goa is proud to announce that the legendary Brazilian football player Zico has agreed to be the manager of their team that will play in the Indian Super League," the statement said.

It added that representatives of the club, owned by a group of football-loving Goa businessmen, will travel to Brazil soon to help Zico complete visa formalities.

Other former stars who have confirmed their participation as player or coach include Italian great Alessandro Del Piero, France and Juventus striker David Trezeguet, his compatriot Robert Pires, Spaniard Luis Garcia, and England goalkeeper David James.

The league is backed by India's Reliance Industries, controlled by the country's richest man Mukesh Ambani, sports management giant IMG and Rupert Murdoch's Star TV.

India, ranked a lowly 150th in the world, has been dubbed a "sleeping giant" by world governing body FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

But the English Premier League draws big TV audiences and team owners are hoping to replicate the success of the IPL, the domestic Twenty20 cricket tournament that attracts some of the game's biggest names.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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