With India hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for the first time, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is upbeat about the showpiece event coming to the country. AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey said he is confident the tournament will become a “guiding light” for girls in India who aspire to become footballers.
The U-17 Women’s World Cup kicks off Tuesday. Hosts India will take on heavyweights USA in their opening match to be played at Kalinga Stadium in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar at 7.30 pm. This is the second showpiece event AIFF will organise in India after the U-17 World Cup in 2017.
Barely two months ahead of the tournament, India was almost denied the opportunity to host the biennial event as FIFA, the world football governing body, suspended the AIFF for “undue influences from third parties” and declared India ineligible to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup. However, a new set of office-bearers assumed office after a fresh election and recovered the hosting rights.
The tournament will be played at different stadia in Odisha, Maharashtra and Goa.
The AIFF, along with respective state governments, has worked to develop infrastructure and facilities for the World Cup. “The matches are scheduled to take place in Bhubaneswar, Navi Mumbai and Goa. The preparation has been good and satisfactory,” Chaubey told ABP Live.
Stating that hosting a World Cup will help in developing the sport in the country, the former India goalkeeper said: “With the amount of awareness it (hosting World Cup) will create across the country, I think we will get to scout many aspiring women footballers and this Indian contingent will be the guiding light for them.”
Though rain could be a hindrance, Chaubey said the football governing body in the country would overcome issues with the help of the respective state governments where the matches are being held. “A few civic works were affected due to untimely rains in Goa but with the state government’s help, we could pull it off to prepare the stadium for the World Cup,” he added.
Odisha Tourism, Hero MotoCorp, NTPC Limited, Power Grid Corporation of India and United Phosphorus Limited (UPL) were announced on Friday (October 8) as the national supporters of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup India 2022.
Speaking about how the football scenario could change after hosting this World Cup, Chaubey said: “When you get to organise a tournament like World Cup in your country, that in return gives you additional boost and motivation for mass participation. We have to bring all the stakeholders together and see how this sport can be reached to the highest possible level.”
When & Where To Watch IND U-17 vs USA U-17
In the seventh edition of the U-17 Women’s World Cup, India obtained automatic qualification as the host nation. India will make its debut in the biennial tournament, which started in 2008.
The match between India U-17 and USA U-17 will begin at 7.30 PM on Tuesday. It will be televised on Sports18 Network in India.