FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup emblem launched in Mumbai

With exactly a year left for the event to begin, Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said he will back the local organising committee to make the event a success.

The official emblem of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup is projected on the Gateway of India in Mumbai on Saturday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

 

It was a star-studded affair at the iconic Gateway of India on Saturday evening as the official emblem for next year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s football World Cup was launched.

With exactly a year left for the event to begin, the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju — who graced the occasion — said the sports ministry will back the local organising committee to make the event a success. “For me football is the No. 1 sport in the country, not in the context of commercial success and winning international championships, but it can be played by all. In my area of north-east, football is a religion. As sports minister of India, I assure full support to the World Cup,” Rijiju said.

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With FIFA’s chief women’s football officer Sarai Bareman and All-India Football Federation chief Praful Patel in attendance, the minister also insisted that FIFA should look at more venues to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup fixtures.

“India is a big country and I would like FIFA to look at more venues to conduct the Under 17 Women’s World Cup. I have already written to Sarai,” Rijiju said.

Though the venues are not yet announced, Patel stated that north-east will be hosting a few matches. “I can tell you north-east will be one of the venues. We cannot ignore north-east in terms of its importance and the contribution to Indian football,” Patel said.

The event also saw five sporting icons of the country — Silki Devi, Ajinkya Rahane, Bembem Devi, Amrinder Singh and Major DP Singh — gracing the occasion.

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India Test vice-captain Rahane encouraged the U-17 footballers, stating that they should play fearlessly. “Play fearlessly as a team. It’s about taking one game at a time. That’s going to be a biggest factor. We should back our team,” Rahane said.

India cricketer Ajinkya Rahane and India U-17 women's football team captain Silki Devi at the emblem launch event.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

 

One of the icons of India’s women’s football, Bembem, too pleaded the fans to back the young team. “I could never play a World Cup because we could not qualify. We will support all of you. Play well, follow coach’s instructions and the World Cup will show what women’s football means,” the seasoned campaigner said.

Silki, who is set to feature in the World Cup next year, sounded confident about the team’s chances. “We will try our best to get the title, if we have the combination and the confidence,” she said.

India earned praises from FIFA for organising the men’s U-17 World Cup successfully in 2017 and as another mega event nears, the world body and the local organising committee is confident of a stellar show.

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