Mumbai: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) believes that the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, beginning later this week in the country, can be a catalyst for the sport and wake up the sleeping giant called India.
"Over the last three years, we have worked very hard with this Under-17 World Cup team and Indian football is on the threshold of some very good things to come," AIFF`s honorary general secretary Kushal Das declared at the Grassroots Development Summit 2017 in Mumbai."October 6, 2017, 8 pm, will be a tremendous occasion for all of us when India playing their first World Cup match. Hopefully, it will also be the beginning of a new era for Indian football," he added.
The summit organised by the Mumbai City Football Club saw top coaches and managers from Brazil, England and New Zealand share their respective country`s development programmes."We may lack behind on technique and technical aspects, but these boys are equal in terms of physicality, fitness and endurance, with the rest of the world. They will run their socks off on the field and will make us all proud," AIFF Technical Director Savio Medeira said.Top coach and Deputy Chairman of AIFF`s Technical Committee Henry Menezes was equally positive that the boys would pull off a surprise.
"The Under-17 team is really lucky. It has been given more world-wide exposure than any other Indian team. This lot is the best of our next generation of players. With a little bit of host luck, and the entire country`s support, I think they are very close to pulling off a surprise in the tournament," Menezes said."If that happens, it will change the entire football scenario in the country," he added.
The Indian Colts face USA on October 6, before locking horns with Colombia and Ghana on October 9 and October 12 respectively at New Delhi`s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.