GOA: Tonight’s Group A match between India and Islamic Republic of Iran was played in front of the highest number of spectators so far at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship India 2016. The attendance reached 5,892, which is higher for a single match than at the last two editions of the competition in 2014 and 2012.
Watching at the PJN Stadium, AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John said: “It was a good match with a real football atmosphere, which is great to see in India where football is generally speaking not the number one sport.
“The AFC’s vision is to change that across Asia and tournaments like the AFC U-16 Championship here in Goa show that we are making progress. This is possible only through working jointly with our Member Associations, and the All India Football Federation has done very well with the organisation of this tournament.
“This tournament provides a perfect way for India to prepare to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup, as the LOC gains experience in various areas such as match organisation, infrastructure preparation, human resources, security arrangements, hospitality and event management and media and communications.
“Playing in a competitive environment also provides the Indian team real international match experience which they would not be able to experience through friendly fixtures. I hope the India team will continue to work hard in preparation for the FIFA World Cup next year.”
The General Secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Kushal Das, also hailed the excellent efforts put in by the India team, as well as the Local Organising Committee (LOC): “We are going all out to promote the games, from promotions over local radio channels to handing out tickets in public places, the LOC is leaving no stone unturned to attract more and more people to the games.”
Tournament Director for the Local Organising Committee Javier Ceppi said: “Our aim has always been to try to get families and the youth to the stadiums and the crowds in PJN Fatorda are a reflection of it. This goes to show that all the work to promote the game along with the Government of Goa and the educational ecosystem in the state has paid off.”