New Delhi: Happy to see football's popularity rise in India, German Ambassador Michael Steiner said he is confident that the 159th-ranked nation's participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be a reality.
"I am confident that at the latest in 2022, India will take part in the World Cup. With over a billion people, there is sure abundance of talent. I think India is changing when it comes to sport...India was more of a cricket country...Now it is a football country as well and that's good news," said Steiner at the kick-off of the Stairs School Football League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here Monday.
With 128 city schools participating from the Delhi-NCR region, the 22-day event had attracted more than 500 entries for the inaugural edition and Steiner, who was the special guest at the opening, said that such events will certainly pick the right talent from grassroot level.
"India in 10 years will be the largest country of the world. Now there must be talent here and you also have football talent here, the question is to find them, to motivate them and to train them. And I think what we see here today is exactly that...What Germany can do, India can do as well," he said.
Sports Secretary Ajit M Sharan, who was the chief guest, also backed Steiner's views of India participating in the 2022 World Cup.
"Like Mr.Steiner, I also believe that India will be an active participant in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. We have abundance of talent and tapping it from the grassroot level is the right thing to do. And Stairs is taking football in the right direction," Sharan said.