With just 30 days left before the kick-off, FIFA officials are running around convincing the local organizers to finish off stadium renovation in time, Inspecting the facilities and making sure other requirements for the tournament are met.
— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) September 7, 2017
But amid all this chaos, FIFA legends Carlos Valderrama and Marcel Desially on Wednesday advised the Indian colts to view the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup as a huge opportunity to shine on the international stage and perform to their potential. “It’s a huge opportunity for the Indian U-17 team,” said former Colombian great Valderrama, “If you want to go to Real Madrid, then this is your opportunity. All the big scouts and agents will be watching, so enjoy and grab this opportunity. You don’t get too many opportunities in football. This is their moment to shine and stand out.”
Six months ago when Luis Norton de Matos replaced Nicolai Adam as the coach of the Indian U-17 football team, it was a tough time. When India received the hosting rights in December 2013, it was a challenge for the country to even assemble a squad which could take on some of the best footballing nations. However with just a month to go for the World Cup, things look better. The boys are in good shape and on the exposure tours abroad, they have fared decently. “The team has made a lot of progress since March. But we know that the gap between the other teams and India is big. It could only be reduced with more age-group matches, which unfortunately are not there. So, I won’t say we will beat them in the World Cup, but the confidence has grown and I feel we can challenge them.” Said the Portuguese coach.
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. Will the Indian Colts be able to channel the energy and support from home fans into something substantial?