The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) Secretary General Dr Shaji Prabhakaran on Sunday met the India U-17 women’s national team at the team hotel here and interacted with the players, coaching staff and team officials, ahead of the FIFA U-17 World Cup beginning on Tuesday.
Hosts India are all set to participate in the U-17 Women World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar, Margao (Goa) and Navi Mumbai from October 11-30.
They have been drawn in Group A alongside USA, Morocco and Brazil. They will face the USA on October 11, followed by Morocco and Brazil on October 14 and October 17, respectively, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
While talking to the players, AIFF Secretary General expressed hopes that the team will make the nation proud by dishing out their best on the pitch. He also motivated the girls ahead of the tournament.
“The entire country is rooting for you. You need to enjoy the moment,” said Dr Prabhakaran.
“You are representing 1.4 billion people. Your performance will be watched live in 140 countries. This is the biggest opportunity for you all to show the world who you are and what you are capable of,” he added.
The 50-year old administrator met the players and Coach Thomas Dennerby and advised the girls not to lose focus and play as per the plan.
“Try your best, and give it all. You should always have in mind a picture of the plan the coach has given you. Keep your focus, it’s a launching pad for you all,” he said.
AIFF Executive Committee Member Avijit Paul was also present on the occasion along with Dr Prabhakaran, who mentioned how everyone can become like their role model — Bala Devi — and asked the players to dream big.
“Look at Bala Devi – she went to Europe to play. You can also do it if you dream big. Do nurture a dream to play for top teams in Europe, where thousands of people will watch you from the stands,” he said.
“I am sure, you will make India proud. You need to perform and don’t think about results. If you put up your best, results will automatically come. At the end, all the people in the stadium should stand up and clap for you.
When you go back home, people should receive you and give you a warm welcome – perform like that,” he concluded.