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Home / Football / FIFA U-17 World Cup: Psychologically it’s tough to play at home - Marcel Desailly

FIFA U-17 World Cup: Psychologically it’s tough to play at home - Marcel Desailly

Marcel Desailly, France World Cup winner of 1998, said that Indian football team should make the most of playing the FIFA U-17 World Cup at home

football Updated: Sep 06, 2017 23:41 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Marcel Desailly (left) and Carlos Valderamma during an exhibition match to promote the  FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Marcel Desailly (left) and Carlos Valderamma during an exhibition match to promote the FIFA U-17 World Cup.(Hindustan Times)

Playing in a World Cup in any sports discipline is perhaps the most exciting and enthralling scenario for anyone, but getting to do it at an age of 16 or below, the opportunity is bound to be plainly stupendous. The stepping stone for a handful of them would get underway next month, when this maximum city will opens its doors for the Fifa Under-17 World Cup, and former Nigerian international and current coach Emmanuel Amuneke stated that this was an opportunity that the young colts should not let go as they’ll be playing at home.

Speaking at a press conference after the trophy unveiling ceremony at the DY Patil Stadium on Wednesday, Amunike’s opinion found backing from other legends of the game as well, including former France defender Marcel Desailly who had won the World Cup on home turf back in 1998.

READ | Follow Spain, France’s football model: Marcel Desailly tells India

Also present at the unveiling were retired internationals Fernando Morientes of Spain, Mexico’s Jorge Campos and the iconic Carlos Valderamma of Colombia.

“The Indian team playing at home is very special,” said Desailly. “They should be very well prepared physically and psychologically because it’s tough to play on home soil. We won the 1998 World Cup on home soil because we were able to bring out the positive from that pressure.”

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: India in Group A with USA, Ghana and Colombia

Valderamma, who earned more than a hundred caps for Colombia, admitted that it was indeed a rare chance for the footballers to display their talent in front of the global agents and scouts. “For the Indian under-17 national team, this is a huge opportunity,” said Valderamma. “Someone asked how a player from here could go to play for Real Madrid someday, well this is your opportunity! All the big scouts and big agents will be here. The whole world would be watching. The team should enjoy and take the opportunity. You don’t get too many opportunities in football. This is the moment for you to stand up and shine.”

READ | Indian colts must use U-17 World Cup to shine, say FIFA legends

There have been several instances where under-17 players have failed to go through the ranks and represent the country in the under-19, under-21 or the senior level, but Amunike, who is well-acquainted with the hardships that one has to undertake to lift a major trophy, said he expects the Indians to make a name for themselves. “I have not seen them play unfortunately, but hosting and participating in the World Cup is a huge opportunity for them to develop their game and we all hope and pray that in the near future we can travel back to India and be privileged enough to watch the senior team,” he said.

READ | FIFA U-17 World Cup: India have 5 per cent chance of winning every game, says coach

Talismanic striker Morientes, who was just 20 when Spanish giants Real Madrid swooped him from Real Zaragoza, said it was important for the Indian teenagers to get their basics right. “The most important thing is the foundation,” said Morientes. “It’s very important to enjoy and to realise that only a selected few will be able to get into such clubs (Real Madrid). Unless there is a system there is no future… first and foremost the basics are important.”

Hosts India have been pitted alongside United States of America, Colombia and Ghana in Group A and will start off against the US on October 7.

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