FIFA is happy with the hosting of U17 World Cup, says AFC general secretary

Kolkata: FIFA is happy with the staging of the U17 World Cup in India. According to the AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John, the world football governing body is satisfied with the way the tournament was being hosted. The AFC general secretary was here at the Salt Lake Stadium to witness the semi final clash between Brazil and England which the later won by 3-1 margin.

“I think from the feedback we got from FIFA, they are very happy with the organisation of the World Cup. It's not easy to organise a World Cup in such a huge country. There got to be some issues but if you look at it in a very objective way, I think it has been fantastic,” said Mr Windsor to the reporters here.

On being asked how the hosting of such a major event help football will develop in this country, Mr Windsor said, “The WC in India is to be a catalyst to turn things around. You have to look at it that way. Now India has embraced football. For us in AFC, India is very important. We want to make football the number one sport in Asia and India is very important. So now we have to ask what happens after the World Cup.”

The AFC general secretary was also present at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to watch the hosts play their first match in the tournament.

“I watched India play the opening match. You need to know to put up a generation of players needs a lot of grassroots development. You cannot just pick from the whole country, it does not work like that. So probably if India starts now, the next generation of player would be ready. Some of these who have come here are playing football from the age of four years. I mean the cannot just pick from the cream. There has to be a pyramid,” said AFC general secretary.

Talking about the unfortunate shifting of the semi-final venue from Guwahati to Kolkata, Mr Windsor said, “In any football development, infrastructure is key. It starts with fields, stadiums and so on. The pitch in Guwahati was damaged due to bad weather. But overall it has been very positive not only for India but overall for Asia.”

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