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Will Fifa Under 17 World Cup Be Helpful?

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Will Fifa Under 17 World Cup Be Helpful?

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Ankush Pandit


India hosted the 17th edition of the FIFA under-17 World Cup and it was a roaring success. Thanks to the response India have now bid to host the 2019 U-19 World Cup. But has the hosting of FIFA's junior World Cup editions going to help us become a talented footballing nation in the future?

India hosted the 17th edition of the FIFA under-17 World Cup and statistically, it has been a huge success. It became the highest scoring U-17 world cup, breaking the previous record of 172 goals in 2013 edition which was hosted by U.A.E. 172 goals had already been scored already even before the last 2 matches of the tournament were yet to be played. This edition of the FIFA under-17 World Cup also broke the records of attendance.The total number of spectators, who turned up at the six venues across the country was 12,80,459 which broke the record of 12,30,976 set in China in 1985.

The love for the 'beautiful game' was shown by Indians. The craze and enthusiasm during this event has drawn attention as well as appreciation. Brazil players were left overwhelmed after their win against Germany at salt lake stadium when more than 60,000 people shouting for them. Recently FIFA's head of tournaments Jaime Yarza quoted, "The only we would have done differently this year is get 48 teams for this world cup.There are teams who were sad not because they had lost but because they had to leave India."

But now the talking point is what India has got in return.Though we have succeeded in providing high-level facilities and infrastructure for hosting international events, it is far from sufficient to organize a senior edition of FIFA world cup. FIFA is surely delighted over India's effort and they may give us the opportunity of hosting another FIFA event again in the future, but the crying need is the core development of Indian football, not only the development of players but the development of the whole system.

The bitter truth is that football has been ignored in our country for many years. Some parts of the country may have a rich heritage of playing football, but its popularity is still very low across India. 3 years ago, ISL gave Indian football a boost, but we need a sustainable source of inspiration. The U-17 world cup has shown that we have talents like Dheeraj, Komal, and Anwar who have done enough to make us proud, but it's time to ensure that these talented youngsters get the maximum opportunities to fulfill their potential. So the next obvious question is what's wrong with our system? What should be done instead of what is being done today? ISL has undoubtedly brought some excitement for football lovers who have been fans of the sport for a long time. It was also necessary to spread footballing culture in our country. The presence of foreign veteran players and glamorous Bollywood celebs will not help much.We need young talents to emerge out of the crowd of common people.There are many players who stop playing just because of being underprivileged.They cannot choose football because they don't find a livelihood in it. That's why need a good scouting system. We need at least one good and active academy for every ISL playing club.There must be a rule of AIFF for the clubs so that they become bound to include their local academy players in the squad and give chances to play. Otherwise buying overseas players only may give you fame but not a bright future.

But it is not the time to be disappointed and indulge in moaning. Our young team has great potential, the recent success and performance by senior team will surely rejuvenate their spirit. As many as 13 players of U-17 squad will also play the AFC U-19 championships qualifiers to be held in Saudi Arabia. We can surely dream for a better result this time. And it is only our dream which will lead our team to the goal. So let's keep dreaming.

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