Kolkata, Oct 26 (IANS) FIFA head of events Jaime Yarza on Thursday said the fans of the India edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup has been it’s biggest legacy and the country has hosted a successful event.
“One of the biggest legacy is the internal knowledge of the FIFA recognising that people have come in such big numbers, young people. That the girls were watching the league…they put football in front,” Yarza told reporters at the wrap-up press conference here.
“I think this is one of the biggest ever seen. This is what is going to stick to the country in the next tournament. The whole world has witnessed this enthusiasm. We had 113 channels broadcasting the matches in 187 countries. This is the whole world basically. The whole world has seen that India is a footballing nation.
“The people are the real legacy of this World Cup, the people,” he added.
Just two games remain with the third-place clash between Brazil and Mali and the final between England and Spain to be played at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively.
“The figures speak of themselves, it is going to be the most attended U-17 World Cup. On the field, the matches were of high quality, played in high speed and technically also it was of high class. It has been a fantastic tournament and India has delivered it. It shows that India is a football nation in every sense,” Yarza said.
“We want to commend all the six host venues for the successful hosting of the tournament. All the teams are happy and the coaches told us that training sites were of top level.
“They did not expect such good quality training pitches. All the teams are satisfied regarding accommodation, food and transportation,” he added.
Yarza said the U-17 world Cup has catapulted India to the global stage and it has shown that it’s a footballing country.
“This tournament has touched so many hearts and souls like in the case of Mission XI Million Project which is a fantastic one. India is going to be a pioneer breaking new records for this approach. We will keep on working with AIFF, we will try to make this country into a football nation in many ways,” Yarza said.
Yarza said the Indian team had also not done badly despite crashing out in the group stage after losing all their three matches.
“The Indian team had also played well, executing what the coach had asked them to. They played at high speed, they were not afraid of facing some very good teams and all the Indians should be proud of their performance. They should continue to develop and get support,” the FIFA official said.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel, who is also the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), expressed satisfaction that the entire meet went off without any problem.
“The six venues that hosted the tournament met the exact standards of FIFA. The FIFA is extremely satisfied with the facilities which is outstanding in every sense. This Salt Lake Stadium which is going to host the final match is the best in the country and I think it will also be the one of the good stadiums in the world.”
Patel thanked FIFA for allotting this tournament and for its guidance throughout. He also said that this tournament would not have achieved this success but for the hard work by the LOC led by Chilean Javier Ceppi.
On the Indian team that took part in the event losing all their three Group A matches, Patel said: “Our boys have shown that they compete at the highest level. They played against very tough teams. But the results did not matter. The fighting spirit they showed and the way they organised themselves and executed what the coach wanted was exemplary.”
Asked what will be the biggest legacy of this FIFA U-17 World Cup, he said, “A lot more corporates will come forward and invest in football. The infrastructure will keep on improving from here on. Besides the six venues we have used, there are at least six more venues which could have been used with minor modifications.”