With the 2017 Under-17 World Cup set to be held in India, has Indian football really its day in the sun? It is time for us to really focus on our young pool of players and put forth the best team to compete in the 2017 World Cup…
The All India Football Federation and Coca-Cola India came together recently to announce a strategic alliance laying the roadmap to build a competitive Indian side for the 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup. This announcement coincided with the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola’s stopover in Kolkata. Coca-Cola India will complement the AIFF’s efforts to seek out the best Indian Under-17 talent for 2017 through their flagship tournament for Under-15 footballers – the Coca-Cola Cup formerly the Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy. Players selected from the Coca-Cola Cup and other academy tournaments will be provided with exposure and other opportunities to strengthen and train the aspirant pool for 2017.
Five young footballers have already been chosen as part of this aspirant pool for a Coaching and Conditioning Camp in Brazil in 2014. This is one of the many opportunities being provided by Coca-Cola in association with the AIFF towards fielding a strong Under-17 team for the 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup.
Present to grace the occasion were Debabrata Mukherjee, Vice President, Marketing and Commercial, Coca-Cola India; Kushal Das, AIFF General Secretary and legendary Brazilian footballer and the official ambassador of FIFA World Cup™ 2014, Carlos Alberto Torres. Speaking at the event Coke India’s Debabrata Mukherjee said, “With the 2017 Under-17 World Cup set to be held in India, I strongly believe that Indian football has found its day in the sun. It is time for us to really focus on our young pool of players and put forth the best team to compete in the 2017 World Cup. Over the next few years, Coca-Cola India will work with AIFF to strengthen the aspirant pool for the 2017 Under-17 World Cup by identifying potential players and providing them with international exposure, world class training and guidance.”
“We hope to reach out to a larger pool of aspiring footballers to help widen our search for the very best Under-17 football talent our country has to offer. From 2014, the Coca-Cola Cup is set to be one of the primary routes to the Under-17 World Cup Team for 2017. We are confident of putting together a strong team, at par with global standards, through this partnership,” Debabrata added.
Brazilian Carlos Alberto Torres said, “It is great to see the love and excitement here for the game. Taking this talent to the next level and competing at the International level requires support and training at the grassroot level. This sort of support is very important to help players evolve in the sport and compete on the global arena. It feels great to see a global company like Coca-Cola, promote the culture of football and support grassroots football like it always has in many countries. ”
The Coca-Cola Cup is a grassroots level football tournament organised by AIFF in association with Coca-Cola. The tournament is open to all young footballers in the age group of 12 to 15 years. Over 40,000 players from more than 2,500 schools across 75 cities participated in the last season of The Coca-Cola Cup, bringing forth a huge pool of gifted footballers.