AIFF Media Team
NAVI MUMBAI: The Asian Football Confederation President Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, along with General Secretary Datuk Windsor John and Deputy General Secretary Mr. Vahid Kardany were felicitated by All India Football Federation in Navi Mumbai on Saturday, October 29, 2022. AIFF President Mr. Kalyan Chaubey, Vice President Mr. NA Haris, Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, and Treasurer Mr. Kipa Ajay were present on the occasion. The members of the AIFF Executive Committee, Technical Committee and State Associations were present in the felicitation function.
The AFC delegation is currently in India for the final of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, which is to take place in the city on Sunday, October 30 at the DY Patil Stadium, where Colombia will take on Spain in the summit clash.
AFC President Shaikh Salman was presented a memento by AIFF President Mr. Chaubey, while AIFF Secretary General Dr. Prabhakaran presented one to AFC General Secretary Datuk Windsor John. AIFF Treasurer Mr. Kipa Ajay presented a memento to AFC Deputy General Secretary Mr. Kardany.
Shaikh Salman said on the occasion, “It is a great pleasure to meet all of you here today. I know the last few years have been rather difficult because of the pandemic, and we could not visit each other. But I think we learnt a lot from the past, and what matters is how we build forward for the future.
“When I came here and saw how big an occasion the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is in India, it made me think, does this country deserve where it is in the world? The last few years we have put the focus on India. What matters to us is that India progress to where it deserves to be. The AIFF has had its elections and now it is time for all of us to put our hands together and be one. We need to put our trust and give a very clear idea of where we need to go in the future,” he said. “The federation, the clubs and even the Government have played a big role.”
He further complimented India on it’s organisational capabilities and said, “In the past India has hosted big tournaments like the FIFA U-17 World Cup for Men, and the Senior Women’s AFC Asian Cup, and that shows that India has become an active country not only in Asia, but also the world. For us, India should play more in AFC competitions, and we look at your country as a potential host for every competition in the future. We are here with full support.”
AIFF President Mr. Chaubey welcomed AFC President to India, stating that under the latter’s guidance Asian football is moving in the right direction.
“I welcome your eminence to India. Under your leadership and guidance, Asian football has come a long way. We, the well-wishers of football in India believe that Asia will do well and India will also get into the pace of things with it,” he said. Further going on to welcome AFC General Secretary Datuk Windsor John, and Deputy General Secretary Mr. Vahid Kardany, the AIFF President said, “We are on the eve of hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup final, and we believe in the growth of women’s football. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, we say Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. We believe that this cannot get any better than representing the nation. We promised a roadmap for Indian Football, and towards the end of December, we plan to announce it,” said Mr. Chaubey.
“We have a population close to 1.4 billion in India here. Though people say India is a cricket-loving nation, I would say that India is a cricket-watching and a football-playing nation. Football is played in almost every village, every neighbourhood of the country,” he said.
AIFF Vice President Mr NA Haris thanked the AFC delegation and said that the AIFF management looks forward to working with them.
“Thank you, your excellency, for joining us today. We are a new team, and with you leading on the Asian front, we look forward to working with the AFC. We want to take football to a better place in India and in Asia,” said Mr. Haris.