Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju talked to members of the Indian Women’s U-17 Football team and encouraged them to keep their morale high following the Women’s U-17 World Cup’s cancellation this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. He did so by means of a webinar that was convened for this purpose. He was joined in the virtual webinar by members of the Indian U-17 Football team from various parts of the country. Also in the webinar were AIFF President Praful Patel; Head coach, women’s U-17 team Thomas Dennerby and DG-Sports Authority of India Sandip Pradhan.
The Women’s U-17 World Cup was originally scheduled to take place this year in India but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed before being cancelled. Despite the fact that the next edition will be hosted by India, a plethora of current players will cross the age limit by the time the next World Cup happens.
‘Should not let energy and spirit drop’ – Kiren Rijiju
Speaking at the webinarKiren Rijiju said, “Though the U-17 players are disappointed, they should not let their energy and spirit drop. Their lives have just started and it is not their fault that the World Cup is not taking place this year. I thank the AIFF for ensuring that India remains the host for the 2022 edition.“
“While I am upset that some members of the current team will not play the 2022 World Cup due to age, they need not worry as they will get the opportunity to play the U-20 World Cup and eventually make a breakthrough into the senior team. I am very confident that the women’s football team will soon qualify for the Senior World Cup. India has to do everything to promote football,” he added.
AIFF President Praful Patel said, “Feeling very upset about the World Cup not happening this year, the Government has supported us a lot. The players were ready to perform beyond our expectations. Young girls should not lose hope, they will get many more opportunities. The players who are a part of the U-17 team will get a chance to transition into the U-20 team. Our long-term vision is that a lot of players from this team will peak by the time of the 2026 Asian Games and the 2027 World Cup.”
Head coach, Women’s U-17 Team Thomas Dennerby also echoed the aforesaid sentiments and said, “This is a fantastic team and they had trained very hard for this tournament. The team had performed well in different tournaments and exposure tours and there were a lot of good signs when we closed the camp in March. I hope camps will resume soon and players get to know where they stand before the 2022 World Cup. I believe we will give a great account of ourselves at the 2022 World Cup.”