All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief Praful Patel Thursday said it is in talks with corporate houses to fund the building of its state-of-the-art National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata.
Patel said this while chairing its Annual General Body Meeting.
“The AIFF is also in the process of developing a state of the art National Centre of Excellence in Rajarhat, Kolkata. The land is in the heart of the city and work is slated to begin soon. It will cost us Rs. 200 crores, and we are in talks with some corporates,” Patel said.
Wishing luck to the Indian team for its forthcoming campaign in the AFC Asian Cup, Patel recollected the upward journey of the team from 173 to 97 in the FIFA Rankings.
“The Indian football team have been doing well and have stitched a string of victories. I wish them good luck in their campaign in the forthcoming Asian Cup.
“We have been drawn in Group A and there are tough matches ahead. Nonetheless, we will definitely hope that team comes out with flying colours.” Patel stressed on the importance of developing youth teams for the sport’s overall growth.
“To build up a strong Footballing structure, it’s important the youth teams do well. Our U-20 team beat Argentina and U-20 and also held current FIFA U-20 World Cup runners-up Venezuela to a draw.
“Our U-16 boys also reached the quarters of the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 which was a win away from a direct qualification for the U-17 Peru World Cup,” the president said.
General secretary Kushal Das thanked the Odisha government for its support and signing an MoU for the development of the youth teams.
“I also congratulate the Indian women’s national team for qualifying to the second round of the AFC Women’s qualifiers for the first time ever,” he said.
The current office bearers observed a minute’s silence in memory of former AIFF president Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.
“He was a very tall leader who led AIFF for many years. He laid the bedrock for a professional structure for Indian football. His contribution for Indian football has been immense,” Patel stated.
The AIFF chief also paid his respect to former Asian Football Confederation president Peter Velappan who passed away earlier this year.