Is India good enough for FIFA U-17 football world cup?
Lots of controversies and confusion surrounds India’s under17 football world cup. This will be the first ever FIFA tournament held in India and the entire subcontinent. First impressions go a long run and India have to put in a lot of effort to ensure that.
With the sheer numbers you have, if you could get the fans to get in and watch then you could inspire a lot of kids to play football.
ISL already made a huge fan base being the third most popular domestic football league, so filling up the seats will not be a problem. India now seems to waken up for the growth of the professional football as they headed up for the match in various countries and had the last practice at Brazil. The team is participating in every possible tournament to have a better experience. It’s a tough call but it will definitely bring a lot of changes and many youngsters will be encouraged to opt a career in football.
The preparation is fast track now. 200 million INR have been allocated for development of stadiums and other venue facilities. A lot of renovation and reshuffling is taking place.
Quality of training
Nicolai Adam was appointed the coach in February 2015. The team made an early exit in the AFC U-16 Championship in 2016 and a semi-final exit in the SAFF Championship in 2015. It’s been two years now and the quality of training and player’s ability will be checked now.
FIFA Head of Tournaments, Jaime Yarza said: “I was here last February and, to be honest, while some work has happened, it’s by far not enough, which is a matter of deep concern.” Although the capacity of maximum stadiums are 60,000 but due to security reasons the stadium that can house 60,000 spectators will now only sell 41,748 seats.
In 1950, India had last participated in FIFA but the team withdrew because they were not allowed to play barefoot. Finally, after 67 years, India is hosting FIFA U-17 world cup.
In December 2013, India was announced as the host of the 2017 Fifa U-17 World Cup, beating out strong bids from South Africa and Uzbekistan. This is a big deal for a country like India which has never participated in a global football competition before. The first clubs in the country were founded in the then-imperial capital of Calcutta. The Durand Cup, set up in 1888 which was the world’s third oldest football competition. Despite of all the early efforts, the impact of India is very little.
“It’s going to be absolutely massive, because the U-17 World Cup is where you get to see future global football stars in action,” says licensed football coach Varun Tolani, who gave up a lucrative job in investment banking in New York to come back to India and take up coaching. India are drawn in a tough Group A along with former champions Ghana, Colombia and United States of America and de Matos dropped enough hints that his side may not reach the knock-out stage of the competition.
He further added that “Building on my experience, I believe India can be at par with other countries at this level (U-17) in eight to 10 years. And after these 8-10 years, I hope seven to eight players from the current Fifa U-17 team should be in the senior national team in the prime of their career. That will serve Indian football well. We will be strong in defence, will look not to concede goals and especially would not like to concede early goals. Then we will look for quick and strong transitions and see that we can score in these transitions”. He assured that the country’s football fans will be proud of the performance of the Indian players. There are three words to describe this fantastic moment of Indian football. First is Faith and we should have faith in the team. Second is Hope which connects dreams and any dream is possible to realise and lastly Love: we should love what we are doing.
India are relative minnows and it will be trial by fire for India to play that quality of opposition. The team will be lacking skills and experience but they will certainly be buoyed by the fact that they are the first from the country to play in a football World Cup. The tournament should best be treated as a great launchpad for not just the young footballers who make up the India squad, but also as a test for the administrators in charge of delivering a successful tournament