Praful Patel: 'Proud moment for the nation at Doha'

AIFF president Praful Patel lauded Bengaluru FC for making the nation proud by reaching the AFC Cup final in Doha and said Indian football is heading in the right direction.

The Bengaluru FC players being put through their paces in Doha.   -  AIFF

Two-time I-League champion Bengaluru FC triggered the start of a new era in Indian football when it became the first Indian club to qualify for the AFC Cup final.

“It was a proud moment for the whole nation in Doha when Bengaluru FC played Air Force Club of Iraq. Even if they lost, they made us proud,” lauded AIFF president Mr. Praful Patel on the sidelines of FIFA RDO Shaji Prabhakaran’s book launch ‘Back To The Roots.’

“When have we ever seen an Indian club proving that they are no pushover in the AFC Cup Finals? Never has an Indian club reached so far. They made history.”

“There were over 50 fans that had spent their own money and flew to Doha from India to watch the match,” Patel said lauding the presence of the West Block Blues, Bengaluru FC’s fan club. “When have we ever seen something like this?”

“The best is yet to be seen in Indian football and we will be seeing more such things in the future. This is truly a start of something revolutionary in Indian football which will take it to a different level. It is not at the level which we want it to be right now, but it certainly is in the right direction,” the AIFF president stated.

Mr. Patel, also the vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) informed that the whole SAFF region has to develop in order for football to progress equally in all countries.

“I hope that the whole SAFF region develops as then we would have more competition amongst ourselves enabling us to become even better in football.”