AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: Goa is one of the most-praised venues in the ongoing FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, and has hosted 16 matches out of a total 32 games in the entire tournament. While it has been a massive undertaking for the state to play such gracious hosts, the development of footballing infrastructure in Goa is something that the state has laid a lot of emphasis on.
Shri Govind Gaude, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Goa, believes that the state has a lot more to contribute in terms of the development of football, something that could add to the upliftment of the game in India.
“I’ve been in charge of the Sports Ministry for about five months now, and I can assure you that everyone here is trying their level best to develop football,” said Shri Gaude. “Football is out state’s favourite sport, and the potential is very high.”
Being the venue that hosted 50 per cent of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup matches is something that has helped propel the construction of footballing infrastructure at a faster rate in Goa.
“We managed to build all the infrastructure for the World Cup in record time. It was a proud moment for Goa and India, and I am very thankful to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji and Sports Minister Shri Anurag Thakur ji for all their support ahead of the World Cup,” said Shri Gaude. “We have worked day and night for achieving our targets and commitments to the FIFA management.”
The Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa has also been blessed with a one of a kind hybrid pitch, something that has been well applauded by many participating teams.
“It’s a great experience for the entire nation. The teams that have played here really enjoyed the hybrid pitch. I was speaking with the coaches of Germany earlier, and they seemed very happy that India has taken up such challenges as developing a hybrid pitch. A lot of work has gone into it.
“I believe that the hybrid pitch that we have in Fatorda is at par with what is present in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and we very much intend to maintain this pitch for future use as well,” he said.
With Goa playing hosts to a number of sporting events like the Hero Indian Super League, Hero I-League, the National Games next year, and many more events, maintenance of such facilities becomes all the more important.
“These facilities are not here just for the FIFA World Cup. They will all remain here for future use to bolster the sporting development. We also have the National Games coming up next year, and I am sure that we are more than ready for it, especially after seeing how satisfied the authorities from FIFA were with our facilities,” he said.
“The main intention for hosting such big sporting events is to motivate the youth of India to take up sports. Not all can excel in studies, but so many can do well in sports, and earn fame through it,” he continued. “Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji is very serious about the development of sports, and we will have maximum infrastructure for it in Goa. We will invest more in the sporting arena so that our own Goans play for the nation and make us all proud.”
The Goa Sports Minister also outlined plans to open residential academies to churn out quality sportspersons.
“Mental and physical fitness are of paramount importance, and that is why we intend to set up academies where children will stay in the hostels and receive proper coaching and mental training,” he said. “We have already started the same for 3-4 disciplines, and there will be more to come in the future.”