Re-elected president of Western India Football Association (WIFA) Praful Patel said although the game of football is a second most popular game in the State after cricket there is a lot of need to be done to develop the infrastructure for it.
He was talking to media persons after the annual general body meeting of WIFA at Chitnavis Centre, Civil Lines.
Patel said infrastructure is one of the important things to give direction to the game. “ I am happy to say that new WIFA vice-presidents Aditya Thackeray and Parth Jindal ate taking interest in this sport. “We want that now the young and energetic people should come forward to work with us in the body. Both Aditya and Parth are football lovers. Aditya has done a lot of work for the development of football in Mumbai. Jindal’s JSW Foundation has developed world-class infrastructure for sports in Karnataka and their Bengaluru FC team has qualified for the final in AFC Cup. I am hopeful that these youngsters will spare their time to take the game ahead in the state”, he said.
Patel who is also the president of All India Football Federation (AIFF) said, ” Football is very popular in Nagpur and Kamptee. I have said a number of times that Yeshwant Stadium which is located in the heart of the city is totally neglected. If the stadium is upgraded, then the city can host even the international matches”, he said.
Patel said, ” Nowadays football has become very professional and for that, we need proper infrastructure. WIFA can’t help the district associations financially. Therefore, I think both chief minister Fadnavis and Union minister Gadkari who hail from the city should help NDFA’ he said.
Patel said we should not be satisfied with the fact that India’s ranking has improved in the world. ” We are nowhere in the world till we qualify for FIFA World Cup”, he said.
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