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FIFA U17 World Cup 2017: Esteban Cambiasso and Nwankwo Kanu set to be the main guests at the draw

Esteban Cambiasso Argentina
Esteban Cambiasso scored arguably the greatest team goal in World Cup history
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 29 Jun 2017, 17:36 IST
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What’s the story?

Footballing greats and former World Cup stars Esteban Cambiasso and Nwankwo Kanu are going to be special guests at the 2017 U17 FIFA World Cup draw set to held in Mumbai on the 7h of July. 

In case you didn’t know...

India are set to host the U17 FIFA World Cup later this year in October –  the first time the country will be involved in a FIFA event. The opening game for the same is set to be held 6th of October 2017.

The heart of the matter

Esteban Cambiasso, who had a storied career –  notably with Real Madrid and Inter Milan, was part of the Argentine team (the youngest player on the squad) that lifted the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1997, also scoring in the final against Uruguay.

He would later captain the side in the 1999 edition of the tournament. Hailed as one of the world’s best central midfielders during his heydey would then go on to win 52 caps for the senior Argentina team.

This included appearances in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2006 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2007 and the 2011 editions of the Copa America.

The 37-year-old who started his career in Spain in the Real Madrid, would reach the zenith of his career, becoming the fulcrum of the Inter team under Jose Mourinho who won the treble in 2009/10.

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Nwankwo Kanu 1996
Kanu won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games with Nigeria

Meanwhile, Nwankwo Kanu was part of the Nigerian team that would go on to win the 1993 FIFA U17 World Cup in Japan where they beat Ghana 2-1 in an all-African final. The lanky forward would then go on to make his senior debut a year later and feature in the 1998, 2002 and 2010 editions of the FIFA World Cup.

His highest point on the world stage, however, would be winning the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where he scored in a thrilling 4-3 win over Brazil in the semi-finals.

He would finish on 87 caps for the Super Eagles while playing for the likes of Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal and Inter Milan at the club level. Whilst he won the Champions League with Ajax, the skilful forward enjoyed his most memorable spell playing in the Red and White of Arsenal -  winning three Premier League title and three FA Cups.

What’s next?

The Indian team has, of course, qualified for the tournament by default as hosts and will be placed in Pool A. 

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The other 23 teams to have qualified are Japan, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, New Caledonia, New Zealand, France, England, Germany, Spain and Turkey.

Author’s take

Whilst, Nigeria have failed to qualify for the tournament, his appearance in the draw would surely give the aspiring footballers such much-needed positive stimulus as to how the tournament can pave the way for future success.

Published 29 Jun 2017, 17:25 IST
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