New Delhi: Football in India could finally get its due as the national governing body, AIFF, on Tuesday officially submitted its bid to host the FIFA Under-20 football World Cup, only nine days from the start of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
The President of the All India Football Federation, Praful Patel, confirmed that the bid had been submitted for the U-20 World Cup.
“Besides hosting this tournament (FIFA U-17 World Cup), India has formally put its bid for the World Cup U-20 to be held in 2019,” Patel told reporters here.
The AIFF President also said there is no commitment towards hosting U-20 tournament and AIFF is awaiting a confirmation from world football governing body FIFA on the same.
“We have no commitment yet, of course because it is not yet decided at the level of FIFA but we do expect and we hope that after conducting this World Cup happening in India and the executive FIFA committee coming to India, we would be able to convince FIFA,” he said.
‘National centre for excellence’
Patel, who has been heading AIFF since 2012, in another announcement said the AIFF will set up a National Centre of Excellence for the footballers which will be home for senior and junior men and women teams. The location for the centre is yet to be finalised.
“We are looking to have a world class centre of excellence, because we should have a permanent facility, right from hall the physical training equipment to swimming pool, classrooms to everything,” he added.
India fully ready
“India is ready, we have 100 percent readiness on infrastructure and the Indian national team is geared up to participate in the World Cup. The time of reckoning has come for Indian football and we are proud to announce the stage is set for the World Cup,” said Patel.
About the team, Patel said: “Building of a team has been an ongoing process for a long time. The scouting was in professional hands and we have put at least three years of hard work to build this team. The coach had full liberty and absolutely no compromises have been made.”
Tournament Director, LOC, FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 India Javier Ceppi was enthusiastic that “football is really taking over India” while Head Coach of the Indian U-17 World Cup Team Luis Norton de Matos was confident that “this is perhaps the strongest team India has fielded in this group”.
“I’m sure that this is perhaps the strongest team India has fielded in this age group. The competitive experience is a big factor at this level but I’m very confident about this team and I can already feel the adrenaline flowing in me and my team. I’m very happy at the way how the team has shaped up,” said Matos.