By our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 21: The successful hosting of U-17 World Cup will help India to get the right to host the next edition of U-20 Soccer World Cup, feels All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel. India has already submitted its bid for the right to host 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Patel was in the city to witness the quarterfil game between Mali and Gha at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Saturday. Mali won the tie 2-1 and moved into the semifil.
Talking to media on the sidelines of the match, the AIFF president said, “U-17 World Cup was important for us for several reasons. By successfully hosting the event we’ve proved that we can organize tourments of any level. It’ll also act as the launch pad for the progress of Indian soccer.”
Patel is also happy with the importance accorded by FIFA to promote soccer in India. “It’s nice to see that we’re successful to draw FIFA’s attention toward India. FIFA is paying much attention to India and will even hold its Executive Council Meeting in Kolkata just before the fil of U-17 World Cup. It’ll be the first such occasion to a FIFA EC meeting outside Zurich. We’re very thankful to FIFA”
On soccer infrastructure in the country Patel said: “Now we’ve very good infrastructures all over the country. You take Indira Gandhi Stadium as an instance. It’s raining all over the day in Guwahati but there’s no effect on the match because the ground is superb. After the game there’ll be a little wear and tear on the turf but we’ve experts who can make the ground ready well before the semi-fils.”
India fans are disheartened on the early exit of the tiol Team from U-17 World Cup. However, Patel today advised the soccer fans to have patience as India will move forward in the game very soon.
“We’ve chalked out various plans to promote the game in the grassroots level, and I’m very much optimistic that the same boys of our U-17 team will start to play wonderful football within next five years,” said Patel.
The president also admitted that Northeast is the real hot bed of Indian Football and the region will produce more and more footballers for the tiol team in the coming days and they are seriously planning to boost grassroots level in this region.