Mumbai: Indian football legend IM Vijayan today said hosting the 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup will change the face of Indian football as the event would provide world-class infrastructure in the country.
"It will be good for youngsters. We will get good grounds, get a good combination of youngsters. The infrastructure will improve as they would have to build the required facilities and grounds. Moreover, the profile of India football can increase with more spectators coming at the stadia and watching on television," Vijayan told PTI here.
"Later, we can have other football tournaments on those grounds after the conclusion of the World Cup. It will be a boost to the Indian football. The face of Indian football will change. Football will develop because of this," he added.
The former India captain said the country has many talented players, especially at the junior level and they need the opportunity to perform at a big stage.
"We have many talented youngsters but they are not getting the opportunity. We need to push them otherwise we won't get good players," he said.
The 44-year-old Arjuna awardee also hailed proposed IMG Reliance tournament to be held later this year and said it would help to develop Indian football.
"It will benefit the Indians because players like (David) Beckham, Michael Owen, Kaka would come and they can play with these stars. The interest would be high and Indian players can watch them and learn from them, play against them," he said.
"It would be like what happened in cricket. Good players from other countries and the Indian players played together for a club, and the youngsters would come up. For instance, Sanju Samson, he got the experience to bat against the best fast bowlers. Similarly, in football, the youngsters would get the experience by playing alongside these stars. Indian football will develop because of this," he added.
Vijayan is part of the Indian Football Foundation that aims to create a pool of youngsters trained and oriented to football standards.
In association with the Lions Club of Willingdon Crescent, the academy provides free coaching to talented underprivileged children.