The 17th edition of the FIFA U-17 World in India turned out to be a grand event and a big success as it became the most attended and the highest scoring tournament ever. The Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata witnessed 66,684 spectators cheering the teams of England and Spain as they clashed in the finals on Saturday.
The total attendance at the six host venues across the country logged 1347143, which is 116,167 more than the earlier record attendance of 1,230,976 set in the first edition of the tournament in China in 1985.
However, Sol Campbell, former Arsenal and England centre-half who is in India as part of the FIFA’s Technical Study Group said that India is 50-100 years behind the world football elite. He stated that India needs serious “catch-up” job to do.
Talking to reporters on Sunday, Campbell said lots of countries are far ahead of India and the country needs to catch up. Yet his views on India was positive and said that the country is on the right path. He said that hosting the World Cup for the U-17s gave good exposure.
Campbell commended AIFF president Praful Patel’s proposal of starting a training centre in Kolkata saying that it will help players a lot. He stated that coaches should talk to players more often and players should be sent abroad to know and imbibe all that is happening in football.