India’s FIFA U-17 World Cup preparation stalls amid internal strife

Football federation in the eye of storm


News - India & You

January 27, 2017

/ By / Kolkata

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The under-16 Indian National Team that participated in the recent tournament in Russia

The under-16 Indian National Team that participated in the recent tournament in Russia

India is set to host the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in October 2017; however, the improving eminence of football in India still remains shady with the lack of vision and proper infrastructural strength.

India is preparing itself for its first ever FIFA competition and the nation with an above-hundred FIFA ranking will be looking to make a positive mark on the map of the global football. At the wake of this major sporting event, the mother body of Football in the country, All India Football Federation (AIFF) is again forced to answer awkward questions on the alleged sacking of the head coach, the future of grassroots level development and the recent poor performance of the under-17 squad in Russia.

AIFF denies sacking Head Coach

Earlier this week, stories aired on national news forums that the AIFF, enraged by the poor performance of the Indian team, has asked Nicolai Adam to step down from the position of the Head Coach of the Indian Under-17 football team. However, when confronted by the media, the AIFF president, Praful Patel denied the charges and expressed shock at such hoax reports.

The Indian boys had a poor run in their last tour to Russia, where they finished at the bottom of the table among 16 teams. India managed only a lone victory in five games in the Granatkin Memorial Cup. Patel interacted on Tuesday (January 24, 2017) with the coach and the boys who were on their way back to Goa from St Petersburg, Russia. The President discussed the performance of the team as well as the way forward towards preparing a more competitive team for the U-17 World Cup.

Although all looks settled, for the time being, the dodgy disorder in the Indian dressing room might have opened a window of doubt, reiterating India’s poor show of professionalism in sports other than cricket.

Nicolai Adam’s run

The German took over the Indian national youth team in April 2015 with a lot of purposes but one clear objective – making the World Cup count for India. In one of his statements, Adam had said, “My job is to prepare the millennial generation for this U-17 World Cup, which will then hopefully be a catalyst for the growth of football in India.”

As the AIFF has expressed their keen focus on the development of the game and unearthing new talents in the country, the body also shoulders the utmost priority to ensure a proper roadmap for Indian football and the welfare of the boys.

“After the World Cup, we want to bring football to 11 million children. From a young age and starting from scratch, kids will learn about football in youth leagues, which we will establish, as you can’t find them everywhere yet. I hope, India seizes this opportunity and that everyone cooperates to make it a great event and ensure India has a future in football. The potential and the interest are definitely there, and the excitement ahead of the U-17 World Cup is massive,” added Adam.

The Indian team, which was recently sent on long exposure tours by AIFF to Germany, the UAE, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Brazil, and Russia, would resume their practice on February 1, 2017, in Goa.

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