Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar feels that qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is a realistic target for the Indian national football team.
Speaking at the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola in Kolkata on Sunday, the ‘Master Blaster’ said: “2022 sounds like a realistic target. We are hosting the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, so it sounds realistic. I would like to believe that!”
“We need to focus on the process. We cannot look to go directly to the 100th floor. We have got to start from the first floor and gradually climb up the building,” Tendulkar continued.
“To participate in a big tournament like the World Cup is something that does not happen overnight. It’s a journey, and for a journey to happen there’s a process. As I mentioned, the platform has to be provided to the young guns,” the Bharat Ratna urged.
“To achieve it, a lot of hard work and planning needs to be executed. You have got to have proper facilities and teach the young kids. We need to attain the level what champion teams are doing at the moment.”
“I had the privilege of standing beside Sunil Chhetri [+ read more],” Tendulkar remembered his visit to the Final of the Tier I of the Coca-Cola U-16 National Championship between Meghalaya and Orissa. “The way he looks at football is completely different from what I understand. To go out and support some other sport is really important. I was there to show my support to the young footballers, and some of whom I believe will participate in the World Cup in 2022.”
Former Indian cricket national team captain Sourav Ganguly, who was also present at the FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, added: “I am sure the Under-17 World Cup will bring kids back to football. Like we had Sachin and (Rahul) Dravid and now (Virat) Kohl is in cricket, I hope we see such things in football.”