India make wild card entry to U-17 Futsal World Cup
Mumbai, July 8 (IANS) India will make its maiden appearance in the Under-17 Futsal World Cup in Paraguay after being invited by the sport's governing body AMF through wild card.
India will be one of the twelve countries to compete for the U-17 World Cup crown in Paraguay which will be held from July 11 to July 20.
India has been drawn in Zone 'A' which also houses Catalonia, Kazakhstan and the host nation, Paraguay. Colombia, Belgium, Brazil and Australia make up the Zone 'B', whereas Argentina, Uruguay, Morocco and Curazo conclude the last Zone 'C'.
The Indian contingent was selected through U-17 nationals which were hosted in Haryana from June 14 to 16. The shortlisted players from the nationals were put through a training camp in Mumbai from June 26 to July 5, where fifteen players were selected to represent India at the U-17 World Cup.
Bharat Raj, 15, who hails from Chennai, will be leading the Indian contingent in Paraguay.
India will be playing their first game against Catalonia on July 12, Paraguay on July 13 and their final group game against Kazakhstan on July 14.
"Futsal is at a very nascent stage in India and sending our U-17 team to the World Cup could be a great opportunity to propagate Futsal in India," Futsal Association of India president Namdev Shirgaonkar said.
"We have picked fifteen of the best Futsal players in India through a National Camp and we are confident of them putting up a good show at the World Cup."