With just one month to go for FIFA Under-17 World Cup, five FIFA Legends — Carlos Valderrama, Fernando Morientes, Marcel Desailly, Jorge Campos and Emmanuel Amuneke — took part in an exhibition game at the DY Patil Stadium and unveiled the Winner’s Trophy for the Navi Mumbai leg of the Trophy tour.
Also present were Arjuna awardee Oinam Bembem Devi; Indian women’s team captain Ngangom Bala Devi; two kids from Mission XI Million, the legacy programme for U-17 World Cup; Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise Babul Supriyo and Bollywood filmmaker Shoojit Sircar.
The match ended 5-4 in favour of the FIFA Legends.
Fernando Morientes scored four goals while Bala Devi was the standout performer for the Indian icons, netting a brace and assisting in another.
Emmanuel Amuneke, winner of the FIFA U-17 World Cup with Nigeria as coach, said: “I think dealing with U-17 players, the most important thing is to try to make sure they see you as someone who can add to their game.”
“Try as much to guide them and not forget that there are a lot of distractions going on in their mind. But the most important thing is to bring them to a level where they can compete with teams all over the world”.
Morientes added: “Infrastructure and coaching can help create an ecosystem that can be conducive to the transition between youth teams and senior teams. That’s what Spain and France have been doing all these years. The infrastructure to start from the school level, right to the top”.
Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium will host five group B matches and one group A game besides one round-of-16 tie and a semi-final.