Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia feels that a global tournament like the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India has already started to create an impact on the growth of a number of footballing academies in India.
Bhutia, who retired from professional football in 2011 after playing more than 100 matches for the Indian National Football team agrees that the World Cup will be a game-changer in Indian football.
The former chairman of the technical committee of the All India Football Federation said, "This prestigious tournament will only help the country in its bid to raise the profile of football. If the players produce good results in the tournament, it will be a motivation for the country and the players to do even better (in future)."
Bhutia also believes that the World Cup in India will be a successful one. He said, "In terms of organisation, I see that the U-17 World Cup will be a successful one. I feel it is already a success."
Speaking about the impact of hosting such a huge global footballing event in India, Bhutia claimed, "There has been a huge improvement in infrastructure at the grassroot level. More than 100 football academies have registered with the AIFF. More than 50 clubs have registered for the U-19 League (of the AIFF). It is all because of this U-17 World Cup."
The 40-year-old concluded by talking about India's World Cup group and opined, "As far as the performance of the boys is concerned, it will be tough for them (to wriggle out of the group stage). But it is not impossible. They will have to play their best and you never know (what will happen) in football."
The U-17 World Cup will be played in six cities across India consisting of New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi, Guwahati and Margao from October 6-28.