Indian U-17 football team on tour of Europe for preparation

Kolkata’s iconic Salt Lake Stadium to host the grand finale of FIFA U-17 World Cup in October


April 13, 2017

/ By / Kolkata

The U-17 FIFA World Cup will kick off in New Delhi and Navi Mumbai on October 6

The U-17 FIFA World Cup will kick off in New Delhi and Navi Mumbai on October 6

‘Football Takes Over’ is officially announced as the slogan for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in recognition of the increasing excitement about the first FIFA competition to be held in India and the country taking part.

The rising interest in the country about the World Cup in October is perceived not only by the recent movements of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) but, also from the rejuvenated announcements by FIFA over the last couple of weeks. Although India secured a spot in this major FIFA competition as the tournament hosts, the country’s huge fan base makes it a melting pot of emotions and passion connected to this adrenaline-pumping game.

The draw for the final fixture will take place on July 7, in Mumbai.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) participants to have qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup are Iran, Iraq, Japan and Korea DPR. The qualified teams from South America (CONMEBOL) are Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Colombia, followed by New Caledonia and New Zealand of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). Teams representing countries from Europe (UEFA), North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) and Africa (CAF) will qualify in the coming months.

Europe tour for the future stars

The Indian football squad, preparing under the new Portuguese coach, Luis Norton de Matos, is now travelling in Europe as they are scheduled to play a series of practice matches in Portugal, France, Italy, Spain and Hungary. The 26-member squad, accompanied by seven officials, including the Head Coach, flew to Lisbon earlier this week and are expected to toil on the turfs of Portugal until May 15. The Indian colts are going to play against the youth teams of leading Portuguese clubs such as the Sporting Lisbon, Benfica, Estoril and Setubal before proceeding to Paris to play a practice match against Paris Saint-Germain U-17 team.

The Indian team will also play a warm-up match against the Italian U-17 national team in Rome before they play the Lazio Cup in Italy. The tournament of 16 teams is expected to host under-17 teams from Albania, Colombia and a number of clubs such as Lazio, Sampdoria, Cagliari, Fiorentina, a few local clubs from Serie B Italia, Serie C Italia.

The team has also confirmed matches against Hungary U-17 and matches against Spanish clubs during their tour to Spain.

The General Secretary of AIFF, Kushal Das said in a statement, “All India Football Federation wants to provide the best exposure to the U-17 World Cup team in our quest to field a competitive team for the World Cup.”

“The practice matches against various youth national teams and youth teams of clubs playing in Premier Division Leagues will serve as a unique experience for our boys as they prepare for the World Cup,” he said, adding, “We also need to thank SAI for their continuous support.”

Venues and Fixtures locked

Following a week-long inspection tour of the six venues chosen for the World Cup, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) have released the official match schedule and unveiled the tournament slogan.

The tournament will start in New Delhi and Navi Mumbai with the first of the double headers being held on October 6. The quarter finals will be in Goa, Guwahati, Kochi and Kolkata, while Guwahati and Navi Mumbai will host the semi finals. The final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup will be held in Kolkata’s iconic Salt Lake Stadium.

Speaking at the announcement of the match schedule, Head of FIFA Tournaments, Jaime Yarza said, “The FIFA U-17 World Cup is an exciting milestone for the growth of football in India and it has now reached a very important stage. The match schedule has been created following a thorough analysis of players’ health, competition format, team movements, weather, local festivities, geography and other factors. Each venue will host at least eight matches, and we took existing infrastructure into account, as well as local enthusiasm when allotting the matches.”

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