Doha. AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam has said India participation in the ongoing AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011. Would prove to be the perfect spur to football in the second-most populous country in the world.India qualified for this edition after 27 years by winning the AFC Challenge Cup in 2008.
Bin Hammam told the Press Trust of India. I am happy for India to play in Asian Cup after so many years after long disappearance. I welcome them. The national association the players and fans in India must be feeling excited that their team is playing in the Asian Cup. I do believe it is the start of the wake up call for India by all means and from here on they should move ahead.
India started football in Asia with the first official match being played there in 1854. In the recent past there has been strong development of football in Asia except for India. Football in India has changed from 27 years ago but many countries of the region had gone ahead of India and they have the chance to move forward now.
In 1988 Japan played in the Asian Cup for the first time when it was held here in Qatar and they could not win a match and failed to get past the group stage. But in the next tournament in 1992 they were the champions. I have a feeling that the same can happen in the case of India. The federation and people of India want change in their football fortunes said the AFC chief.
When asked about the lack of sports infrastructure in the country and if it was impacting Indias football development Bin Hammam said. It is a myth.
Asked about his views on FIFA chief Sepp Blatters reported comments that India could be a potential candidate to host the World Cup in 2026 or after Bin Hammam said.
Every country has a right and ambition to host big events like the World Cup. It is not in our hands. It is entirely in India hands and not an external wish.
If India wants to host the World Cup they will have to show in their bid that they are capable and ready. It depends on the determination of India to take up the challenge. he said.
Asked if India should bid for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Bin Hammam said. India will have to be ready and naturally infrastructure will have to be developed in a way that it meets today international football standards.
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