I.M. Vijayan and Jo Paul Ancheri were of the view that hosting the 2017 U-17 World Cup Football is a very positive happening for the nation. "India hosting a World Cup Football event will bring the sport to the attention of the people. Team preparations have started and will help India form a side worthy of taking part," said football icon Vijayan.
Former international Ancheri felt that infrastructure development for football in India as the World Cup host will result in long-term benefits. "Since we are organising a FIFA event, the grounds and stadiums have to be raised in keeping with international standards. Teams representing many nations will play, so this is the time when the game will get a boost." Both internationals, along with former India striker Godfrey Pereira, talked on the sidelines of the launch of Indian Football Foundation on Thursday.
The IFF, supported by Lions Club of Bombay Willingdon Crescent, plans to provide training to young talent in the U-8 to U-14 age group. The project is supported by the three former India footballers named above, apart from ex-internationals Jacinto D’Silva and Dinesh Nair. As part of the venture, the IFF organised a soccer fiesta featuring 117 teams in four categories. Former India captain Climax Lawrence and Ghana import Yusif Yakubu had inaugurated the tournament held earlier this month.
Pereira, a former Tata Football Academy graduate who went on to represent the India senior team, besides Mahindras in club football, spoke about the importance of organised training from a young age. He coached the Air India side in I-League earlier. "The difference between development of a junior player in India and Europe is the opportunity and facility available to emerging talent. We hope to move a small step in this direction through the IFF where experienced footballers will be involved in formulating training programmes."