The FIFA Under-17 World Cup is to be held later this year, and India will be hosting the grand event. Indeed it is the first time that an official FIFA world tournament will be held in this country which makes it a matter of pride and provides another potential kickstart to the development of the sport in our country.
It also provides a huge opportunity for the Indian Under 17 side to play in a tournament against some of the best in the world in their age group. The likes of Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany among others are all expected to participate in this biennial event later this year. And our fans will surely be witnessing some of the future superstars of the global game in action on our home soil.
As far as venues go, six cities have been provisionally selected as the venues for the event. The FIFA delegation visited India between 19–25 October 2016 to evaluate the progress made towards the preparation in each of the six stadiums. After a thorough inspection, the 13-member FIFA team, along with ten members of the Local Organising Committee, ratified Kochi, Goa, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, Guwahati, and Kolkata as venues for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, 2017
The Under-17 World Cup is not just about pride. It is also an opportunity to inspire the youth of the country to take up football as a sport, and our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided his full support towards the same, stating, “Football is one of the world’s most popular sports. One of the main reasons for its popularity is that, at it’s most basic level, it requires little to no equipment to be played”. He further added, “Such a sport is an ideal fit for a country like India where resources are scarce, but there is no shortage of talent, energy and interest.”
In a statement released earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about how the competition can spark monumental change in India. PM Modi also spoke about the Mission XI Million program and called it a “mass movement”, giving complete support to the pioneering initiative. “FIFA U17 World Cup India 2017 must be a catalyst for change, the tipping point for football in the country, which can only be done by creating a mass movement around it. The objective is to give an opportunity to every child in the country to play football,” he said.
Mission XI Million is a mass movement which will take the beautiful game of football to at least 11 Million girls and boys across the country. More than 15,000 schools have agreed to partner with the government towards this initiative.
Modi further encouraged the parents and teachers of the children to motivate them to play football and improve their skill and fitness. He seemed optimistic towards the progress of the game in our country and his belief in the ability of the youth of the country to take India to its rightful place in world football.