FIFA U-17 World Cup: With no pressure of results, India aim to play with freedom

By September 27, 2017 No Comments

India’s head coach Luis Norton de Matos feels no pressure ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup and wants his team to play without fear against more fancied opponents

With the FIFA U-17 World Cup just around the corner, India coach Luis Norton de Matos is confident his boys will play without any fear and with full freedom when they take on the United States, Colombia and Ghana in the group stages of the tournament in New Delhi next month. (FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP FULL COVERAGE)

Speaking at a press conference here in the capital, De Matos told reporters, “The players are focused. It will be difficult (at the World Cup), but we want to enter with the sentiment of lions.”

“There is no pressure of (producing positive) results. I want my players to feel the freedom,” he said, emphasing that the current squad was the best India had ever had.

The Portuguese tactician acknowledged the enormity of the task ahead of India. “Our opponents have come with 10-11 years of experience (in football). We haven’t had this here,” he admitted.

All India Football Federation president Praful Patel lauded De Matos for his work with the team so far, adding that the coach has been asked to continue after the World Cup.

When asked if enough promotion had been done for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Patel said, “I think there is a lack of understanding about how much marketing has been done for the World Cup. Every venue is going to have at least 100 hoardings, maybe more.” Promotion of the tournament is also being done by local committees of every venue, he added.

The former Union minister further said that given the budget constraints, it isn’t possible for the organisers to promote it on the lines of cricket events like the IPL.

“I don’t there is a lack of awareness about the World Cup.”

U-20 bid and National Centre of Excellence

Having earlier expressed the desire of bidding for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Praful Patel confirmed today that a formal bid has been submitted to FIFA.

He also added that the federation is setting up a ‘National Centre of Excellence’, a project that he said will cost north of Rs 100 crore and will have world class facilities for the Indian national teams, of both genders and across senior and all age-group categories.

The location for the facility is yet to be finalised, he concluded.

Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

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