FC Goa to add football flair to Goa carnival

Panaji, Feb 5 (IANS) There will be a touch of soccer to Goa’s carnival Samba this year, with the Indian Super League (ISL) team FC Goa tying up with the organisers of Samba Square, an alternative people’s carnival organised in the state capital.

Hosted at the restored city park, Jardin Garcia de Orta, children visiting the Samba Square will be able to test and hone their football skills in the middle of all the carnival buzz by playing a quick game of football or display their goal scoring skills, an activity which has been facilitated by FC Goa.

“We are very excited to be officially taking part for the first time in the annual carnival. Being a part of the colour and festivities is a conscious effort on our part to become an integral part of the Goan community throughout the year,” FC Goa chief executive officer Sukhvinder Singh told reporters here.

Singh also added that FC Goa would be setting up a special lounge at the Samba Square, where the carnival festivities will be held for four days from February 9.

The carnival is symbolic of Goa’s colonial Portuguese legacy and is held every year before the holy season of Lent. Goa was a Portuguese colony for over 450 years before it was liberated by the Indian Army in 1961.

The festival, held in February every year, involves a public celebration in the form of long continuous parades of brightly coloured floats, with masqueraded dancers and indulgence in food, drink and general merriment, is led by the portly figure of King Momo, who symbolically throws open the festivities.

The city of Panaji will host two separate carnival events — the main state-sponsored event where the float parades are the attraction, and the Samba Square, which will feature dance, music and entertainment, including art installations, kid zones, the traditional Red & Black dance, etc.

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