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India targets qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup: Praful Patel

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With Bengaluru FC's journey to the AFC Cup finals and the U-17 World Cup next year, it all bodes well for the Blue Tigers.

The AIFF President has set a lofty target of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup (Image Courtesy: AIFF)

India has targeted the 2022 World Cup to be played in Qatar to make its presence felt in world football. According to AIFF President Praful Patel, the country must ensure the right steps are taken as the team targets qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Patel, who is an AFC Vice-President, said that the team is sure to receive terrific support from the middle-east and it should be seen as a great opportunity to make it big in the footballing world. Patel said, “We will aspire towards qualifying for the 2022 World Cup because of the support our national team is going to receive and will need to ensure that right steps are taken towards realising this objective.”

Also Read: AIFF nominated for AFC 'Developing Member Association of the Year' award in 2016

In the recent past, the Indian Super League has provided a great base for the nation’s footballing base. Bengaluru FC, recently became the first Indian club to play in the AFC Cup final, losing to Air Force Club 1-0 and their incredible journey clearly shows that Indian football is on the rise. Praful also said that the game can bring the two Asian countries close, saying, “We believe that Qatar are our natural partners in the Asian football family and the AFC Cup final has illustrated this.”

Qatar would be the first Asian country to host the FIFA World Cup in 20 years, with South Korea and Japan sharing the duties in 2002, in which Brazil emerged victorious. India will host the 2017 U-17 Football World Cup, which is being looked as the unveiling of the footballing talent at the nation’s disposal. With a huge response and passion building among fans, it is time the senior Indian team started delivering the goods on international shores.

Under Patel’s tutelage, the AIFF has recently launched an U-17 World Cup legacy project, named the Mission Eleven Million, which intends to make football the premier choice for 11 million urban children by 2017.

Also Read: Indian U-17 team is on the same level as Brazil, says Bhaichung Bhutia

Re-iterating some of the strong performances by Indian football in the recent past, the President highlighted, “Bengaluru’s historic feat of finishing as runner-up in the AFC Cup and the fighting display of our Under-16 national team against traditional Asian powerhouses Saudi Arabia and UAE in September’s AFC Under-16 Championships in Goa have illustrated that Indian football has begun to find its feet again.”

The Indian national team has recently been on a growing trend as well. Under Stephen Constantine, the Blue Tigers have risen to the 137th rank in the World rankings from the 170s, which look a positive sign. If the team keeps building the way it is, and with the amount of talent being created by the I-League and the Indian Super League, Indian football can reach the final frontier – the World Cup.


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