New Delhi: With the country hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year, Indian football is undergoing a mega revolution spearhead by vigorous work on the grassroots level in an attempt to change the whole ecosystem of football from bottom to top.
"We are right now investing actively with passion to develop football in India and take it to a higher level. The development phase is the most difficult one but we have to see it through," All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel said.
"Our entire focus is on the grassroots and that is why I can say that Indian football is headed in the right directions as results are visible to us," he maintained.
"The number of teams in the U-16 Youth League has increased tremendously and more football players are now involved at the grassroots level," Patel added.
"If we go for a shortcut then Indian football will never go to the next level. There is no shortcut when it comes to grassroots football. It is important that what is happening is guiding change in Indian football and the whole ecosystem of Indian Football is progressing as the bottom of the Player pyramid structure has beefed up massively."
Former captain Bhaichung Bhutia said: "If Indian football has to change, then we have to change from the grassroots level. It has to be a long term development through grassroots level if Indian football has to change.