Mumbai: In order to develop Football in the country, All India Football Federation (AIFF) badly needed some big FIFA tournaments to draw interests. They took their initial by bagging the rights to host the Under-17 FIFA World Cup 2017.
But’s that’s enough. Now AIFF has decided go for a bid to host the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in 2020, AIFF president Praful Patel said on Monday. And a successful hosting of the 2017 Global event may just negate the difference between the cup and lips.
While talking to media, Patel gave his views on a lot of things related to football and how it could be made better in the country. Firstly he talked about recent winning of rights to host the global event and how it will help further.
“Under-17 World Cup next year will be the defining moment of Indian football. We have had intense focus on the Under-16 and Under-17 age-groups and will ensure the national team spends the next few years training and playing together,” Patel said.
“They will give their best during the Under-17 World Cup next year and following the tournament we will bid for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. We have told the FIFA Competitions Committee that we are keen to host the event at the earliest available opportunity in 2019, and this will further give a boost to our grassroots initiatives,” He further added.
Patel told the media that his main focus is 2022 FIFA event that will take place in Qatar and how AIFF is working towards making a very strong and quality team.
“We will aspire towards qualifying for the 2022 World Cup because of the support our national team is going to receive and will need to ensure that right steps are taken towards realising this objective,” said Patel.
“Many of the current Under-16 boys will be a well-knit group and will be ready for national team duty in time for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which will start around the same time…Indian football’s further growth will be of direct long-term to Qatar football, including the successful hosting of the 2022 World Cup (by Qatar).”
Patel, who is also AFC vice president, told the media that with in flow of cash in the grass root level such as infrastructure etc., AIFF has been focusing on the youth particularly with the help of AFC.
“There has been intense focus on these areas by the AIFF helped by the AFC. Corporates have started putting money into football over the last few years and this is starting to pay dividends,” Patel told the media.
“The prime example is the historic run of three-year-old club Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup and the global appeal of the Indian Super League. Winning the Under-17 World Cup hosting rights has sparked the interest of the Indian government in the development of the sport.”
“Bengaluru’s historic feat of finishing as runner up in the AFC Cup and the fighting display of our Under-16 national team against traditional Asian powerhouses Saudi Arabia and UAE in September’s AFC Under-16 Championships in Goa have illustrated that Indian football has begun to find its feet again,” Patel further added.
Appreciating the support from Qatar as well as from the Indian Fans who turned up to cheer for Bengaluru FC, Patel said, “We believe Qatar are our natural partners in Asian football family and the AFC Cup final has illustrated this.
Qatar has identified its Indian community as an important stakeholder of 2022 World Cup and more than 5,000 Indian expats were at the stadium to cheer Bengaluru FC’s historic feat proving they are emotional stakeholders in Indian football as well.”