The excitement and fervor has gripped the entire nation with the U-17 Indian national team to debut in the U-17 World Cup hosted in India.
With the youth competition to be the first FIFA competition to be played in the country, the founder and chairperson of the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) Nita Ambani has stated: "These are wonderful times for Indian football."
"We have recently seen the Indian national team break into the Top 100 in world rankings after a gap of two decades. And now for the first time in the history of Indian football, India is not just participating in a FIFA World Cup competition but also hosting a full-fledged world football event," she remarked.
"I am sure our boys are proud of what they are about to achieve and so are we for them, as well as for the nation to be represented in the World Cup."
Ambani further spoke of her goal to build a grassroots sports eco-system in the country that will encourage kids to take up the beautiful game.
"Reliance Foundation Youth Sports has been conceived to reignite sports in schools and colleges. We are aiming to create a unified sports structure through RFYS and have a holistic plan for all major Olympic sports. We would like to provide a viable sports career opportunities for the youth of our country,” said the recipient of Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2017.
"We have over 60,000 kids playing this beautiful game in 30 centres across the country right now. By December this year, we would have reached out to over 6 million children through our football initiatives. It's heartening to see so much wonderful talent at our disposal. I am sure the day is not far when we can start competing as equals with top teams in Asia and the world," she added.
Nita Ambani is also a member of the Olympic Committee and launched the second season of RFYS school and college football championship with the Ahmedabad city leg on Friday. The other cities where the competition is set to be staged this year include Bengaluru, Chandighar, Shillong, Aizwal, Imphal, Hydarabad and Jamshedpur.
Meanwhile, junior boys, senior boys, senior girls and college boys are the four categories wherein the city winner of each category to compete at the zonal qualifiers before making it to the national finals to be held in January 2018.