THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

India’s Rishi & Nathania to be official Kia Match Ball Carriers at 2018 FIFA World Cup

Kia Motors India selects kids as Official Match Ball Carriers for 2018 FIFA World Cup (Photo courtesy: Kia Motors India)

Ten year old Rishi Tej of Karnataka and 11-year-old Nathania John K. of Tamil Nadu will be the two Official Match Ball Carriers (OMBC) at the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

One of them will carry the match ball during the Belgium vs Panama game (June 18) while the other will get a chance to get onto the pitch before the Brazil vs Costa Rica match (June 22).

As an automotive partner of FIFA, Kia Motors India has created an exciting opportunity for Indian football players between the ages of 10-14 to experience the 2018 FIFA World Cup as part of the Kia Official Match Ball Carrier (OMBC) program.

India captain Sunil Chhetri conducted the trials in Gurgaon last month and had a tough time zeroing in on the two kids, who would be the country’s first OMBCs. As many as 1,600 children participated in the programme, with 50 shortlisted for the final selections.

Sunil Chhetri said, “It was amazing to see so many talented young kids together. I thank Kia for giving this opportunity to the football-loving kids of our country. It augurs well for the future of the sport.”

Under the FIFA OMBC programme, 64 schools kids from different countries, including two from India, will get this once in a life time opportunity to not only walk alongside some of the world’s best players but to also watch a World Cup match.

“It is a proud moment for Kia Motors India that these two OMBCs will be India’s official representation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Just as these kids are passionate about football, Kia is passionate about making great cars,” said Kookhyun Shim, Managing Director & CEO – Kia Motors India.