Indian football is a gold mine that needs to be explored, says Wenger


FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger arrives to attend a state dinner in honor of Britain’s King Charles and Queen Camilla at the Chateau de Versailles (Versailles Palace) in Versailles, near Paris, on the first day of their State visit to France, September 20, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/ File photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Nov 20 (Reuters) – Arsene Wenger believes there is a “gold mine” of football talent in India that needs to be tapped so that the country can play a more significant role on the world stage.

“My target is to improve football in the world. And it is impossible that a country like India, 1.4 billion, is not on the football world map,” former Arsenal manager Wenger said during a visit to India in his role as FIFA’s chief of Global Football Development.

“My main target here is to convince people that there is a gold mine here, but at the moment it is not completely explored, exploited and encouraged,” he added during a meeting with the president of the All India Football Federation on Monday.

The Frenchman said a robust development program can improve a country’s performance.

“I was in Japan at the start of their football in 1995. In 1998, they were at the World Cup,” he said.

“So that means it is possible. You have to start early.

“I believe you have huge assets, fantastic qualities that make me very optimistic about what you can do here.”

India have never taken part in a World Cup. They opted not to participate in the 1950 tournament despite being invited.

Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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