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Kiren Rijiju tweets misleading video about football in India

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A self-confessed football enthusiast, Rijiju tweets a video featuring a young boy from Brazil, claiming it’s from India.

Bengaluru: Union minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted a video Saturday of a child playing football, saying the younger generation in India is showing “more interest” in the game after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on sports in the country.

“Our Indian team is performing much better now & younger generations are showing more interest,” he wrote, adding that he is “very hopeful”.

However, the video actually features Marco Antonio, a 7-year-old boy from Brazil. It was originally posted on Antonio’s Instagram page on 10 March, and has over 2 lakh views.

Rijiju’s tweet has nearly 2,000 retweets and 7,000 likes. The tweet is still up.

The union minister of state for home affairs is a self-professed football enthusiast, and has been tweeting about the ongoing Fifa World Cup 2018.

He wrote that on “moral grounds”, he will be supporting Japan, the only Asian team to reach the knockout stage in the tournament.

The Modi government was part of a historic moment in Indian football, when India hosted the Fifa U-17 World Cup in 2017, which was the first time the country hosted and participated in the Fifa tournament. The Indian team couldn’t qualify for the knockout stage.

Antonio, whose video Rijiju posted, became a social media sensation in 2017, after his father started posting his videos online. He now has a hugely successful Instagram page, garnering over 12 million views and 2,20,000 followers. He also has a YouTube channel.

He has been dubbed the “next Neymar”, and is predicted to follow in the Brazilian star’s footsteps. Antonio also reportedly has a digestive condition called Crohn’s Disease, but that hasn’t stopped him from coming to the attention of clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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