New Delhi: India's vast size and diversity posed as obstacles in the initial preparatory stage, but having crossed the hurdles, Fifa's head of events Jaime Yarza has promised to deliver a "magnificent" U-17 World Cup.
India is bracing up to host its biggest-ever football tournament and the world's third biggest, from 6 to 28 October in six cities.
"India is massive and has so many diverse regions that coordination with the various authorities can be challenging. In addition to this, the distances to cover when we do inspections can be quite big. The infrastructure needed huge improvements but in general, I am confident that it will be a magnificent Fifa World Cup," Yarza told PTI.
Better football education, stadia and training facilities could be some of the lasting legacies of India hosting the tournament, he said.
"In the years to come I really hope to see India's footballers rise to the top in Asia and this would be the true legacy of the Fifa U17 World Cup," he said.
"From an organisational point of view, we want to leave the right legacy in the football structures of the country – better sport managers, better stadia and better training sites. All of this should and will benefit football in India in the years to come."
Yarza lauded the government support ahead of his final inspection of the six venues this week.
Yarza and his team will land here on Tuesday for the inspection visit and will be in the country until 27 March.
"The whole of India and its government are supporting the tournament, which really shows the strong and increasing level of interest in football. I am convinced that the Fifa U-17 World Cup, together with the project Mission XI Million, will leave a strong and lasting legacy in India and we will see an increasing interest in football and many more boys and girls playing the beautiful game."
Post the U-17 tournament, Yarza hoped to see stronger Indian national and clubs teams in the future.
"If the AIFF maintains the level of activity we expect, supported by Fifa's Forward Development Programme, we will see great achievements in the various national and club teams from India.
"Both Asia and the rest of the world can assume that there will be strong Indian teams in the future – India's next qualification for a Fifa World Cup will happen sooner than initially expected. I am looking forward to this and of course to seeing the next generations of players in India.
Published Date: Mar 20, 2017 01:32 pm | Updated Date: Mar 20, 2017 01:32 pm