New Delhi: Sports Minister Vijay Goel asked the India U-17 football squad to draw inspiration from the national women's cricket team ahead of their maiden appearance in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup to be hosted by India for the first time later this year.
Indian women's cricket team missed the World Cup title by a whisker last Sunday as they finished runners-up after losing to hosts England by nine runs in a nail-biting final at Lord's.
Terming the U-17 football team as "dark horse", Goel hoped a fine show from the side in the quadrennial event will do a world of good for the sport in the country.
"The U-17 team looks ready for the tournament. Their preparation has been on the right track. They already toured 10-12 countries in the run up to the event. They will prove dark horse in the tournament," Goel said during a meeting with the side at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here.
"The performance of the women's cricket team in the World Cup should give them (U-17 team) inspiration. The women cricketers were so near to the title. The whole country is proud of their performance," he said.
The U-17 World Cup will be held in the country from October 6 to 28. India are placed in a tough Group 'A' along side Colombia, Ghana and USA.
Currently the U-17 team is preparing for a four-nation tournament in Mexico in August, where besides India, and Mexico, Columbia and Chile are the other participating teams.