Work on U-17 FIFA World Cup headed in right direction: AIFF

New Delhi: Work on constructing world-class stadiums for the U-17 FIFA World Cup is headed in the right direction, according to a top AIFF official, who sounded optimistic about putting together a solid home team in the mega-event scheduled to be held in India in 2017.

The AIFF seemed happy with progress on venues and infrastructure for the tournament. "As far as infrastructure is concerned the requirements of stadium had been sent to the (central) government and they are giving the funds to the respective states," All India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary Kushal Das said on Wednesday.

Das was impressed with the 'agility and fitness' of coach Nicolai Adam's current lot which is participating at the AFC U-16 Qualifiers in Iran. "The preparation of team for the U-17 World Cup is going good. I went to Germany to see them play and they are fantastic as far agility and fitness is concerned, not behind the Europeans. Though tactical skills need to be honed, if we are able to play in the German youth league in near future, it will be very good for us," he said on the sidelines of the 2015 SAFF Cup launch programme in New Delhi.

Das said the emergence of Afghanistan has been the highlight of the tournament. "One of the highlights of the SAFF Championship has been the emergence of Afghanistan as a footballing nation."

Asked if India could replicate the model that brought Afghanistan some success in the SAFF region tournaments, Das said, "A lot of their players play in the European second tier or third tier leagues, they play in Germany. In India's case its not like that, rules and regulations are different in every countries."

When asked about the possibility of India Super League's (ISL) merger with the I-League in near future, he said, "The consensus is that a merger of ISL and I-League will be good. But it is going to take time and we can't set a time frame at the moment."

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