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AIFF president recollects the journey of national team

ANI | Updated: Dec 20, 2018 23:38 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 20 (ANI): Wishing luck to the Blue Tigers for their forthcoming campaign in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel on Thursday recollected the upward journey of the National Team from 173 to 97 in the FIFA Rankings.
"The Indian Football Team have been doing well and have stitched a string of victories. I wish them good luck in their campaign in the forthcoming Asian Cup. We have been drawn in Group A and there are tough matches ahead. Nonetheless, we will definitely hope that team comes out with flying colours," he said at the AIFF's Annual General Body Meeting in the capital.
Talking about the growing interest in the game in India, Patel said: "It is visible from the interest among Clubs, and teams to play - starting from the youth leagues. That is such a healthy sign as we need participation from all over, and not just from certain pockets. Sports have always been a great leveller. The I-League matches in Kashmir have been greeted with great enthusiasm, including the Baby Leagues in Ladakh, as well as the rest of the Country."
"The FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 was a huge success, with its record-breaking attendance all throughout making it one of the most attended FIFA Youth World Cup ever. The U-17 World Cup also brought in a significant upgradation of the infrastructure along with the Hero Indian Super League," he added.
"To build up a strong footballing structure, it is important the youth teams do well. Our U-20 Team beat Argentina U-20 and also held current FIFA U-20 World Cup runners-up Venezuela to a draw. Our U-16 boys also reached the quarters of the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 which was a win away from a direct qualification for the U-17 Peru World Cup," the AIFF president mentioned.
Reflecting on the AIFF's process of developing a state of the art National Centre of Excellence in Rajarhat, Kolkata, Patel said: "The land is in the heart of the city and work is slated to begin soon. It will cost us Rs. 200 crore and we are in talks with some corporates."
Besides Patel, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das, Vice-Presidents Subrata Dutta, KMI Mather, Subhash Chopra, Manvendra Singh, AIFF Executive Committee Members, members from Member Associations and two affiliated units SSCB and RSPB also attended the meeting. Meanwhile, Rajasthan State Football Association was granted leave by the Chair.
FIFA Regional Developmental Officer Prince Rufus also graced the occasion, while Purushottam Kattel from AFC was present as an observer. (ANI)