Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he saw "spark" in the footballers who represented India in their maiden FIFA World Cup and encouraged them to consider it as stepping stone to bigger things. The prime minister invited the players after they came back from Saudi Arabia following the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers. "I personally requested for this meeting as I saw some spark in all of you. Based on your performance people have started knowing you so there is a huge responsibility on your shoulders," the PM told coach Luis Norton de Matos' boys.
He further added that they must stay together as a team and in a few years time should establish themselves as professional players. "Consider this U17WC as just a preparation for the future. I hope you stick together as a team and in 5-7 years time represent the country with great laurels," Modi stated.
Modi, a sports enthusiast, who has spoken about the significance of sports umpteenth times in 'Mann ki Baat', expressed that "there is no life without sports". "There is no life without sports. Football is a very intense game. Hope you can inspire people to inculcate sports as part of their daily lives," Modi said.
The PM, who was present at the JLN Stadium in the capital during India's FIFA U-17 World Cup opener against USA on October 6, said that Jeakson Singh's goal against Colombia in their second game was the "biggest reason for all of us to celebrate". "When Jeakson scored the goal it gave the biggest reason for all of us to celebrate."