Valderrama: ‘India’s football standard will improve after this WC’

Former Colombian footballer Carlos Valderrama gives tips to young footballers during his visit at a football academy in Kolkata on Saturday.   -  PTI

Overwhelmed by his week-long sojourn in India, Colombian great Carlos Valderrama today said that his country’s players will not be just competing in the upcoming Under-17 World Cup but will also have an opportunity to experience incredible India.

“Colombia has a very good team. But more importantly Colombia will come and see a beautiful country where there’s a lot of passion for football,” the 56-year-old told reporters after speaking to school kids here.

The upcoming U-17 World Cup has transformed India’s infrastructure and the Salt Lake Stadium that will host the final on October 28 now sports an all-new look.

Valderrama hoped it’s a step in the right direction. “India’s football standard will improve after this World Cup,” he said.

Earlier, he spent about half an hour interacting with school kids and urged them to play football with passion.

“No doubt, training is very important for the kids, it’s a very good start. But it’s equally important to come with happiness and enjoy football. If you’re forced to do something you won’t do well. You have to enjoy the moment, that’s the best advice,” he signed off.

The Colombian great arrived here yesterday after participating in a legends exhibition football match in Mumbai to mark the 30 days to the tournament countdown. He will attend another promotional event tomorrow before concluding his trip.