curtains on wc

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 30 Oct 2017 11:56:10

IT IS CURTAINS on the Under-17 World Cup soccer tournament which ended in great style with England staging a remarkable comeback after trailing by two goals just before the breather, to lift the glittering trophy by a margin of 5-2. That was indeed a befitting end to a mega world event with the soccer-mad Kolkota capacity crowd having a feast dished out by England and Spain. While the tournament turned out to be a huge disappointment for the Indian team, the hosts of the event, the Football Federation of India, must be congratulated for having successfully managed a show of this magnitude. With this successful organisation of the Under-17 World Cup, India has certainly established a claim to host more prestigious international soccer events of the future. Already the Indian Football Federation is eyeing to host the bigger event -- the Under 20 World Cup. Though FIFA has refused to give any commitment on this, India certainly has created a ground for itself to be the host for next big events. 

That attendance-wise the Indian edition of Under-17 World Cup has surpassed all previous records is a testimony to the great popularity of the game in the country. This also proves that Indian masses are not mad only after cricket. They also have equal fascination for soccer and even other sports. The popularity of Kabaddi league or Indian tennis Super League bear testimony . This shows how the Indian fans yearn for good quality sports events and if it is world class they are willing to lap it up even if there is no Indian presence. The Under-17 World Cup soccer tournament has proved this beyond doubt as, although the Indian team failed to make a mark during all their league matches, the fans at all venues turned in their thousands to watch quality football. So the element of partisan participation by the spectators was totally absent in this tournament. That is a huge tribute to discerning Indian sports lovers.

Union Sports Minister Mr. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who himself has been the winner of silver medal in Olympics, has said that India must work hard to bring back lost glory of football. He reminded that India had won gold medal in football in the 1962 Asian Games and the Indian team stood 14th in Olympic Games. Hence the Minister’s appeal to restore that glory to the nation is timely.

The Under-17 World Cup has generated an ambiance that should spur the interest and development of the game country-wide. Experts from FIFA have opined that India has very good infrastructure for development and hosting of international events. It is time the game gets a big time push all over the country. Now that a knowledgeable leader is heading the Sports Ministry at the Centre the fans of soccer would be looking forward to some initiative from him.