Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed on Thursday that he will be visiting India later this year.
Wenger, who is expected to visit India in October, opened up on the inspiration for working with the AIFF on such a talent development project. “I would say that football is the most popular sport in the world and it looks logical that one of the biggest countries in the world has access to football development. I’d say that India is a sporting country, and I’m hopeful that we can bring great joy to children in India and have fun by playing football.
“I’m confident because I believe that success is linked to education. We want to give the opportunity to educate young people to watch football in India,” he said.
For a country with 1.4 billion people, the vast talent pool is the biggest advantage in terms of identifying talent. But looking at the other side of the coin, it also presents an organisational challenge. “The number is an advantage, but the organisation’s task gets tougher. 1.4 billion people, I’d say it’s a gold mine, but a gold mine, which, at the moment, we have not analysed or identified well.
“That’s why we need people inside the country who know where the talent is. This is why the cooperation between FIFA and the AIFF will be absolutely vital, with a strong desire. As per our conversation, the AIFF is highly focused and motivated to help us do that. I think we will do a great job together,” said Wenger.
“I met the President and the Secretary General in Australia at the Women’s World Cup, and I must say I was impressed by their motivation and their capacity to organise what we want to do. I came out of the meeting very optimistic about our cooperation. We will start the work really soon,” added the Frenchman.
But how soon will that be? “I’m happy to go and see how the work is taking place, and I’ve planned to go to India at the end of October, or somewhere around that,” he shared.