The official draw of the FIFA U-17 World Cup was held in Mumbai on Friday and India were placed in Group A alongside Colombia, the USA and Ghana. The Indian team will be making their first appearance at the event but Jackson Singh, one of the probables, is optimistic that India can make it could and create history.
“I hope we can do our best for the country and we can create history in football,” he said before the draw.
India are one of the three debutants of the tournament with Niger and New Caledonia. India will play their first game against the USA on October 6 in New Delhi. All group matches of the team will be played in the national capital.
“If I want to play in India I would like to play for Bengaluru FC,” said Jackson when asked whom would he like to represent in club football in the country.
“We learnt how to hold on to the ball and how to finish well. We are preparing well, we will all give our best,” he added.
Nwankwo Kanu, who was also in India for the draw, said such tournament are big platform for young kids, such as Jackson, who want to play for their country.
“The whole country would be watching, it will be great for his career,” said Kanu, who lifted the U-17 World Cup with Nigeria in 1993 in Japan.
“Who says India can’t win. Bringing the U-17 World Cup is an achievement and good for Indian football. This is a stepping stone for many players and opens doors for them.
Nigeria, who have won the tournament five times, did not qualify for the this year’s edition and Kanu said that his team was not good enough even though they won the title in 2013 and 2015. “We were not good enough to be here,” said Kanu.
Another football legend of his country, Argentina’s Esteban Cambiasso shared the same emotion as his country also failed to qualify. He also said that India should play without fear.
“Playing the World Cup in your own country is huge. There will be pressure but you need to enjoy and live the moment. I hope the attitude of the players and the coach is always positive,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)