With preparations for the upcoming Under-17 FIFA World Cup in its final stages, the All India Football Federation’s next target is the Under-20 World Cup with president Praful Patel declaring the country was ready for it.
“The Under-20 World Cup is our next mission. We have already spoken to FIFA and told them that we are interested. The AIFF is ready to host it next year itself if possible but it isn’t that simple. We have to see how to go about it and how, when we get it is something we cannot decide,” Patel told The Hindu following the AIFF Executive Committee meeting here on Thursday.
Asked about how he fancied India’s chances at the U-17 World Cup — the first ever FIFA event in the country — Patel admitted that while performance was important, the key objective for the federation was to get Indian youngsters motivated to take up football.
“It’s a big moment for us and we should not miss it. We know that, eventually, Indian football’s future lies in this youth group, not the present lot. The current team is playing well and good for them but if you want to see India at the next level in Asia and the world, you have to see the next generation of youth,” he said.