Bhubaneswar, Nov 21
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Government of Odisha, on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up the AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy at the Odisha Football Academy in Bhubaneswar. The MOU was signed in the presence of Arsène Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development.
The MoU was signed by the AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey and R. Vineel Krishna, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Department of Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha. Tushar Kanti Behera, Sports Minister of Odisha was present.
In the ceremony, Chaubey said, "I thank the Government of Odisha and FIFA President for his support to Indian Football in every possible way. The result of that is the presence of the legendary Arsène Wenger today in India.
"His guidance, leadership, technical plan and strategy will help India dream. Let’s take a small step and qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup on merit, and soon the senior FIFA World Cup. I have high expectations through the AIFF-FIFA Talent Academy that we will get our best U-17 team in the coming three years," Chaubey added.
Wenger said, "I'm happy to be in India with my team. I saw the facilities and the quality of infrastructure is great here in Odisha. We've realised that among 211 countries, most have no real youth education. The best countries have good education systems for young children. So, many children don't even get the chance.
"Giving every talent in the world a chance is what our programme is about. To identify the talent in India, give good education and a good level of competition to make great players. How long it could take, we don't know, but without education, we'll remain where we are. Our target is to get India back on the map. No country has more rights than any other to be on the top. Our huge effort is to educate children to get them as good as they can be. You cannot start to play football at 15, you need to start at five or six," Wenger said.
Bhubaneswar, Nov 21