Maradona headlines fundraising dinner for Mexican storm victims

Culiacan, Mexico, Nov 6 (efe-epa).- Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, who manages Second-Division club Sinaloa, participated in a fundraising dinner in Culiacan for victims of Tropical Storm 19E and Hurricane Willa, which hit the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa in late October.

"Thank you for supporting this cause. I believe that this does not happen only in Mexico, but in many parts of the world where nature passes by ... the important thing here is that we have the humanity to help the people who have nothing," Maradona said at the start of Monday's dinner.

The Sinaloa Dorados soccer club and the Mexican Comprehensive Family Development System (DIF) organized the Cena con causa con Diego Maradona (Dinner for a Cause with Diego Maradona) at the Norte 33 restaurant in Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa.

"We (soccer players) have too much. I go home and ask myself, 'Why do I have a lot and the children have nothing?' Our commitment to sports and soccer in Sinaloa does not make us think only about the game, but it also makes us help people who lost a lot of things in the hurricane," Maradona said.

The charity event, which offered the public a chance to enjoy a three-course dinner with Maradona and live music, drew 50 people, who also received a ball with No. 10's autograph as a souvenir.

To meet Maradona and help storm victims, attendees paid 3,500 pesos ($176).

Maradona attended the event with his girlfriend, Rocio Oliva.

At the end of the dinner, there was an auction of sports memorabilia, including a Barcelona jersey with defender Gerard Pique's name and a replica of the World Cup trophy, to increase the amount of money raised.

The Dorados have been on a roll since hiring Maradona to manage them, winning 18 of their last 21 points contested and moving into seventh place in the 15-team Second Division, with a good chance of making the playoffs and playing for the championship.

Two weeks ago, Hurricane Willa, which formed in the Pacific Ocean, intensified to Category 5 strength off Sinaloa.

Willa hit the state as a Category 3 storm and, although it did not kill anyone, the hurricane caused considerable property damage, toppling trees, knocking down light poles and leaving communities isolated.