Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Friday praised the Indian football team saying that the standard of the side has improved drastically and appended that the ministry will put more attention on better training, coaching, and other facilities. Rijiju spoke to ANI after launching the book on former India football captain Baichung Bhutia titled "The Ballad of Baichung Bhutia".
“The Indian football team has improved its standard drastically. Sunil Chhetri was not there in the match, still, the team was able to draw their match against Qatar in the qualifying tournament. I wish Chhetri a speedy recovery. Football is the most popular sport in the world and India should look to cement their place as a strong force in the sport," Rijiju said.
India had an intense match against Qatar on Tuesday leading to a goalless draw in the tournament’s qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The fantastic performance of Indian side against the host of the World Cup has been a major boost for the Indian soccer fans as well across the world.
Baichung Bhutia also agreed to Rijiju’s confidence on the Indian Team and said, "I think the result against Qatar was very good. Despite Chhetri not being there, the team showed good skills. They lost the first match against Oman, but the performance against Qatar was very good. India needs to build on its performance as only two teams from the group stages will go ahead."
"It is a long term process, you need to build on it. After the U-17 World Cup, the standard of the sport has improved in the country. We need to improve the culture towards football. South American teams are like us if we talk about the infrastructure, but the culture is there. We need to build grounds and if that happens youth will get attracted to the sport," the former captain said.
Rijiju hailed the biography of Baichung Bhutia saying that the book narrates the journey of ace Indian footballer and former captain who helped Indian football grow in the country. He further added that the book will be an inspiration for all.