FIFA legends play exhibition match, begin 30-day countdown to FIFA U-17 World Cup
FIFA U-17 World Cup is exactly a month away and five FIFA legends — Carlos Valderrama, Fernando Morientes, Marcel Desailly, Jorge Campos and Emmanuel Amuneke — played an exhibition game at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai and unveiled the winner’s trophy for the Navi Mumbai leg of the Trophy Experience event.The FIFA legends took on an Indian contingent comprising of Arjuna awardee Oinam Bembem Devi, Indian women’s national team captain Ngangom Bala Devi, two kids from Mission XI Million programme, vice-president of the Local Organising Committee Babul Supriyo and Bollywood filmmaker Shoojit Sircar.The match ended 5-4 in favour of the FIFA legends where Fernando Morientes scored four goals. From the Indian side, Bala Devi was the standout performer, scoring 2 goals and assisting another.Carlos Valderrama (L) and Fernando Morientes (Photo Credit: FIFA) Emmanuel Amuneke, coach of the Nigerian team that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup, said, “I think dealing with U-17 players, the most important thing is to try to make sure they see you as someone who can add to their game. Try to guide them as much as you can and not forget that there are a lot of distractions going on in their mind. The most important thing is to bring them to a level where they can compete with teams all over the world.”Fernando Morientes felt that there needs to be an infrastructure starting from the school level to have a successful youth system.”Infrastructure and coaching can help create an ecosystem that can be conducive to the transition between youth teams and senior teams. That’s what Spain and France have been doing all these years. The infrastructure to start from the school level, right to the top,” Morientes said.advertisementMarcel Desailly later remarked, “This is a huge opportunity for the Indians kids to develop the game and hopefully see the national team taking international stage at the youth level.”DY Patil Stadium will host eight matches this October, including the all-important semi-final.