Motivating the Indian colts, who will start their FIFA Under-17 World Cup campaign on October 6, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore asked dynamic footballers to roll in aggressively on the field.
“You should play each game as the last match of your life and should never give up. Every moment counts and you are there to win and you will play the games to win. Once you step into the field you should be aggressive and play to win,” Rathore said, while interacting with the Indian U-17 football team at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi on Tuesday.
India are scheduled to play the United States in their opening match at the JLN Stadium on Friday.
Rathore had inspired many after winning India’s first ever individual silver medal in men’s double trap shooting event at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The eminent shooter asked Indian footballers to play with the intent to win and inspire the nation.
“You, the U-17 players can inspire the nation with what you do on the football field. The game you play now will be etched in memory. You (India) may have qualified automatically as the hosts, but that should not deter you from surprising the other teams by winning matches,” he said.
The minister believes it is pain that gives a sportsperson his real strength.
“When you enter the field, you should remember the most ridiculous things people may have said about you in the past, all the pains you have suffered in you, efforts to reach up to here and all the late night dribbles with the ball that has become a part of your life,” Rathore asserted.
The 47-year-old minister from Jamshedpur told the players how playing for India would be different from playing for a state football club.
“You are not playing for Manipur or Bengal or Goa but you are playing for India. I wish you all the very best in the FIFA U-17 World Cup,” he said.
Rathore met the 21-member Indian squad and gifted a momento to captain Amarjit Singh Kiyam.
(With inputs from agencies)