Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said on Sunday, a day after FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 came to a close, that if things continue like this, the day is not far when India play a World Cup on their own.
“We have got the start. We should not stop here. I hope we get the U-20 World Cup, so that the start gets even bigger momentum. I believe if things go like this, it’s not far when India will play in a World Cup on their own,” Rathore has been quoted by PTI as saying.
“It’s a matter of pride that the U-17 World Cup came to India. It has taken India’s importance at the world level to greater heights. Now the big competitions and sports which were earlier non-existent in India are feeling the need to come to this country. The fans response has been fantastic, we broke all records of the most attended World Cup ever,” said Rathore, who has been an Olympic silver medallist.
He even thanked Kolkata for their brilliant support in the tournament. The city came out in large numbers and last night broke the record of the highest attendance at the event. “Kolkata has sports lovers. They understand the sport better. They waited for the ceremony to get over even after the match was over. They showed respect to both the teams. My heartfelt thanks to all the fans of Kolkata.”
“Football is popular only in a few regions like West Bengal, Goa and NorthEast. It’s a nice opportunity to make the sport popular all over. We must make full use of this. We will take full responsibility from the Centre by bringing up more infrastructure and prepare elite athletes by looking after their funding and resources. You have seen the overall infrastructure and the modifications that have come in place have been very satisfying. We now need to be prepared for the upcoming competitions,” he said.