India earn top FIFA seat, eye 2026 World Cup

Patel, one of six Asian delegates elected to Council said World Cup was the next big step for country


Afp April 06, 2019
PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: India set their sights on qualifying for the 2026 World Cup as Praful Patel became their first representative on the powerful FIFA Council on Saturday.

Patel, one of six Asian delegates elected to the Council at the Asian Football Confederation Congress, said the World Cup was the next big step for India after making great strides in recent years.

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India's confidence has grown after a positive Asian Cup in January, where they returned to the tournament after eight years and were unlucky not to reach the second round.

"I personally feel that among all the countries in Asia there is a tremendous goodwill for India, and (also) China should be much more involved in the game and also the AFC and FIFA," Patel said in Kuala Lumpur.

"We should be putting our best efforts to make sure that the Indian team qualifies in 2026 for the World Cup," he added.

However, India are also searching for a new coach after Englishman Stephen Constantine quit following their Asian Cup exit after a last-gasp defeat to Bahrain.

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