AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor heaped praise on India for investing in the youth teams and believes that the country would eventually reap rewards in the long run.
The India U16 team reached the quarterfinals of the AFC U16 Championship in Malaysia last year. The India U20 side downed Argentina U20 in Spain’s COTIF Cup.
The success of the Indian Arrows project is evident with Indian Super League (ISL) desperately lining up to sign the players.
Windsor encouraged India to continue to invest in youth and that in the long run, success would eventually be a by-product. He shared the example of Qatar who invested heavily in an elite group of young players, who in a few years helped them win the Asian Cup earlier this year.
“We know that India has got tremendous potential and slowly they are investing in the right age category i.e. the youth and grassroots. Over the years you will find some kind of success but you have to continue doing that just like Qatar. Qatar invested in grassroots and academies and now the national team is enjoying the investment that they have made,” Windsor told Goal.
He also shared his thoughts of Praful Patel, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) President earning a seat in the FIFA Council.
“The AFC Congress has elected Mr.Patel and others and we respect this mandate that has been given to represent the Congress at the FIFA and AFC. Mr Patel has been a long-serving member and also the senior vice president and therefore I guess the Congress has put the trust in him to continue in a different role as a FIFA Council member,” he mentioned.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been pushing for a 48-team World Cup in the 2022 edition at Qatar. The final decision will be taken in the next FIFA Executive Committee meeting on June 3rd in Paris.
“I think the FIFA Congress will make a decision and many of the members are looking forward to vote. It is about what the members association and what do they want. If they want a 48-team World Cup then we at AFC have to make different formats so as to ensure that we are fulfilling the requirements of the Congress.
“I mean there is a lot of support for a 48-team event, but we need to have a look at the mechanics and the presentation and once the Congress is convinced that a 48-country World Cup can be done. And they will vote accordingly.”