AIFF President Praful Patel said on Friday that hosting the Under-17 FIFA World Cup next year could bring about a “transformation” in Indian football for generations to come.
Highlighting the importance of the mega-event, Patel said, “World Cup is an initiative to transform Indian Football for generations to come.”
He added: “We are hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 and we have a long way to go.”
The U-17 World Cup squad has been training in Goa under head coach Nicolai Adam with the ongoing scouting process keeping the door open with new talents coming in.
“There have been raw boys picked up for the U-17 World Cup squad and they are the front-runners amongst their crop. The current Indian U-17 World Cup squad envisages about 25 to 30 youngsters which are scouted from across India,” the All India Football Federation chief said.
“We will keep the U-17 World Cup squad as a holistic unit even after the tournament has concluded as it will serve as the nucleus to the coming generations of Indian football,” Patel stated.
The Indian U-17 World Cup squad has already been on exposure trips to Germany, Spain, South Africa with more trips to come. Furthermore, the AIFF Youth Cup is scheduled for next month, apart from the AFC U-16 Championship which are to be held in September.
“The Indian U-17 World Cup squad has been on exposure tours to many places and has rubbed shoulders against good clubs and national teams. We have a five-nation tournament coming up in May followed by the BRICS tournament and the AFC U-16 Championship where the World Cup squad will be participating and gaining experience in a high competitive environment,” Patel concluded.