November 2 – Following the hosting of the U-17 Women’s World Cup, India has committed to launch a schools programme to get 25 million kids engaged with the global game.
On Sunday, Spain were crowned U-17 women’s world champions for a second consecutive time defeating Colombia 1-0 in the final. The achievement was in part a testimony to the development of women’s football at the grassroots level in Spain, something that is sorely missing in Indian football.
India’s U-17 team were eliminated in the first round, losing all of their three group matches against the United States, Brazil and Morocco and conceding 17 goals in the process. Once again the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) top-down approach backfired as it had in 2017 when India for the first time staged a junior FIFA tournament and the Indian boys stood little chance in the group stage.
However, the AIFF together with the ministry of education and FIFA had signed an MoU to roll out a grassroots-level program aimed at bringing millions of children into contact with the global game.
“This is a partnership between the government, the education system, the football federation and FIFA – it is a partnership of course to work for the most talented players; to give every talent of India a chance to become a world star – but also, more than that, to try to make every Indian girl and boy benefit from the values of football,” said FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Recently elected AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey added: “The All India Football Federation is very happy and hopeful that under your leadership, Indian football will go ahead for development in many areas. I thank you and welcome that, with your support and guidance, Indian football will definitely move forward.”
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