Panaji: Fifa president Gianni Infantino on Tuesday described India as the "passionate giant" of football and asked AIFF to ensure that there is a steady growth of the sport in the country.
"India has always been mentioned as the 'Sleeping Giant'. But from what I have seen here I am sure that India is now the passionate giant of Football," Infantino said at a media interaction at Panaji on Tuesday.
India are the World Champions of passion. The work done by AIFF is impressive and it is not a coincidence that Football is developing in India and the passion is growing year after year. Results won't be immediate but it will follow in coming years.
"India is a passionate giant because I have been seeing the graph of development. The Mission Eleven Million which the AIFF is working on to indulge the youth is commendable. The passion of the people, of the fans, of the players, of the youth and the people associated with football is heart-warming and makes the future bright," he added.
Infantino, who is on his first visit to India since being elected the Fifa president, also mentioned that its needs to be made sure that there is a "steady growth of Football in India."
"Football is already one of the top sports of India and it is the number one sport for the Indian youth. We aim to make it the number one sport in India for everybody. Fifa together with AIFF has to develop football in India and we need to make sure that there is a steady growth of football in India," the Fifa president maintained.
AIFF president Praful Patel dubbed the Fifa U-17 World Cup India 2017 to be a "milestone for Indian Football."
"The Fifa U-17 World Cup is a new chapter in the history of Indian Football and we need to make sure that it is one of the best Fifa tournaments ever held in the World," he echoed.
"The passion for Football has the ability to take us forward from the U-17 World Cup and we need to capitalize on that," he added.
"I like the Indian Football Federation being called the All India Football Federation. It has the feeling of the magnitude of India and embracing everyone. India is a continent which is developing and football will become the No 1 sport in the Country," he expressed.