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Maradona does a Hand of God in Go(l)d's Own Country

While the debate rages among Keralites whether Kerala is God's own country or Gold's own country after the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple treasure hunt, Diego Maradona, the Argentine football legend is trying for a 'Hand of Gold' goal to woo Malayalees all over the world to buy more gold.

Dearton Thomas Hector        Last Updated: July 20, 2011  | 19:38 IST

While the debate rages among Keralites whether Kerala is God's own country or Gold's own country after the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple treasure hunt, Diego Maradona, the Argentine football legend is trying for a 'Hand of Gold' goal to woo Malayalees all over the world to buy more gold.

He recently inaugurated the Dubai showroom of Boby Chemmanur Jewellers and appears in a TV ad which is gaining popularity in the football frenzy state of Kerala.  Boby Chemmanur International Group is a Kerala-based jewellery retailer with an annual turnover of around Rs 3,000 crore.

The ad also shows clippings from the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter final match between Argentina and England in which the Maradona, standing a five feet five inches, tips the ball with his hand over a leaping Peter Shilton, the English goalkeeper who is 6 feet one inch tall. Maradona later said the goal was by the "Hand of God".

The Boby Chemmanur Jewellers ad has a tagline saying 'The Hand of God meets the Brain of Gold'.

"He is huge in this part of the world also. It was a very prestigious moment for us", says Boby Chemmanur, Chairman and Managing Director of the 148-year-old group.

The demand for gold in the country is growing steadily after a dip in 2009. The first quarter demand in 2011 for jewellery only was 206.2 tonnes according to the World Gold council.

Untitled Document

Consumer demand for gold in India (in tonnes)
 200820092010
Jewellery501.2442.4745.7
Investments 211136.1217.4
Total712.2 578.5 963.1
Source: World Gold Council

The football legend who is regarded as one of the greatest of all time was roped in by Boby Chemmanur through a common friend and Mr Chemmanur said that Maradona didn't accept any remuneration, as it was for a friend.

Maradona is undergoing treatment after a deadly car crash. The accident happened on Monday, July 11 ,in the soccer superstar's native Argentina, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, according to football website Goal.com.

The Argentine star has been the favourite child of controversies with media reports of drug abuse. In 2004, doctors reported that Maradona had suffered a major health problem following a cocaine overdose; he was admitted to intensive care in a Buenos Aires hospital. In 2007, Maradona appeared on Argentine television and stated that he had quit drinking and had not used drugs in two and a half years.

Football fans forgave the 'Hand of God' goal bowing to the sheer mastery of Maradona in scoring a goal against the English in the 55th minute of the same quarterfinal game. That awe-inspiring goal is best described in these words of English Defender Terry Fenwick: "In four seconds Diego ruined my career."

It all started from a short pass from Hector Enrique as he passed the ball to Maradona some ten metres inside his own half. Maradona then covered almost 60 metres in a 10-second dash towards the English goal, passing five English players before dribbling round goalie Shilton to make the score 2-0.

Seldom in the history of World Cup Football has a man influenced a team like Maradona did, ultimately leading his team in 1986 to the greatest prize in football.  And, 25 years later, Chemmanur is hoping the Argentine's gold dust will rub off on its fortunes.

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