Barcelona and Spain legend Carles Puyol, who was in Mumbai for the promotion of the FIFA U-17 World Cup said that schools need to take initiative to promote football.
Playing with more than 500 school kids from across the city who displayed their skills to the Spaniard Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri, Puyol said that children must start early so that the sport an flourish in the country.
The event was also attended by Sports Minister Vijay Goel, Shiv Sena chairperson Aditya Thackeray and two-time FIFA World Cupper with Nigeria Rubio Afolabi.
He said, “For India to become a footballing nation, kids need to start playing and parents, schools and other institutions have to promote the sport. Children have to practice, and they have to have fun while playing,” he said.
‘Mission XI Million’ aims to reach out to 11 million children before the football gala kickstarts in October.
“Mission XI Million is doing exactly that and I think it is a great step to make football in the country more popular,” he said.
Javier Ceppi, tournament director of the Local Organising Committee of the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 was also present at the event.
Ceppi said, “It was very important for us to have a FIFA Legend such as Carles Puyol seen on the ground how Mission XI Million is changing the landscape of Indian Football. He was extremely happy to see the passion that kids have for the game here and to realise that football is indeed taking over the country.”