Former Indian footballer and coach PK Banerjee said on Tuesday that even though he has not seen the U-17 players play, he will back them at the upcoming U-17 World Cup that is being hosted by India in October.
In an interview to PTI, the Padma shree bhushan awardee said, “I have not seen what they (players) have done. What I know is that they are our future and we have to back them. The pool needs to be increased. More U-17, U-19 players need to be taken into the fold so that our future as a footballing nation is secured.”
“This bunch needs to be together after the World Cup. They need to play as a team and then can represent India at the U-19 level and maybe at the U-20 World Cup. The stats can wait. I love my country, and it’s time to cheer for India in the World Cup, it’s a moment of pride for all of us,” added the 80-year old, who has made 84 appearances for India in 13 years of his career. “The time has come for the boys to give their life for the World Cup. We never had such a kind of opportunity in our days. Take India to the next level.”
“There has been a sea change to the city’s infrastructure with the World Cup final slated here. From roads to the stadium, there has been a transformation. It’s not a matter of joke.”
Talking about which country will be the toughest to fight in the tournament, Banerjee said, “Every team must be wary of Germany. Be it at this level or senior, they are a very strong side skillfully. You cannot take them for a ride. The African nations are may be strong physically but football is game of skill and tactics. I can’t wait to see the World Cup matches at home.”