FIFA U-17 World Cup: India colts ready for biggest challenge of their careersOctober 5, 2017
Indian footballers had lost the golden opportunity to play in the FIFA World Cup in 1950 when they qualified but did not go to Brazil. After 67 years, Indian football will be seen globally in a World Cup when the Indians will face USA on the opening day of the under-17 World Cup here on Friday here. To inspire the colts, former India stalwarts IM Vijayan and Carlton Chapman were present in the practice session here yesterday. Sources close to the Indian team said that both the former national footballers spoke to the young guns and motivated them to go all out to create history.
Dr Swaroop Savanur, the mental conditioning coach of the Indian team, insisted that the team is mentally ready to face the biggest challenge of their careers. “We have been working on the mental aspect of the young footballers. In football, it is often difficult to control your emotions. We have tried our best to get the best out of the boys without losing their concentration and control, an aspect we thought we should work more to combat this enormous challenge of playing in the World Cup,” Dr Savanur said. “We had one-to-one session with every player and they are ready for the challenge. Definitely, it is huge pressure to play for the first time in the World Cup and that too in front of your home crowd. But they are not afraid of anything,” he added.
India’s capital is all geared up too to host the national team in the first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup in the country. The hosts will play all their three group matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. India’s first challenge will be against USA on October 6, followed by Colombia on October 9 and Ghana on October 12. Meanwhile, Vijayan is amazed at Indian football’s leap from amateurism to professionalism and feels a decent outing in the FIFA U-17 World Cup will go a long way in raising the
standard of the game in the country.
“I am pretty optimistic about a good show. We are the host nation and our players have gained confidence following their showing in the preparatory events,” Vijayan told PTI. “I have seen them train before and they really impressed me. I can say that they have it in them to produce a creditable performance in the World Cup,” he said.