AIFF President and Chairman, LOC, AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, Shri Praful Patel attended the virtual inauguration of two pitches by Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, at the upcoming Football Maharashtra Center of Excellence CIDCO in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.
Also present were Aditya Thackeray, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, also the President of Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA), along with Eknath Shinde, Cabinet Minister of Urban Development.
Apart from the two world class training pitches, the upcoming state-of-the-art facility will also feature a High-Performance Center along with a 40,000 capacity FIFA approved stadium and also a golf course, rugby stadium and shooting range.
The training pitches will be handed over for use to the AFC for the Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 and will also feature at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup India 2022 in October.
“On account of Makar Sankranti, it is a very auspicious time to inaugurate such a world class facility at the hands of such honourable people,” Mr. Patel averred. “I thank CIDCO for taking up this initiative for developing world class infrastructure and commend the great work they have put in to get it ready in such a short time.”
He also pointed out the city’s ability to consistently deliver for the big stage. “I am very happy to see the first world-class FIFA stadium coming up in Navi Mumbai which also played host to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 and will continue to do so for the Women’s Asian Cup 2022 and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in October,” said Mr. Patel.
He singled out Mr. Aditya Thackeray for his efforts, working together with him at the Western India Football Association (WIFA).
“The Government of Maharashtra, along with Aditya have given us their fullest support in trying to make India a footballing nation,” he said. “I am happy to see that we are making efforts to bring football to all districts of Maharashtra.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Thackeray was elated at the prospect of contributing to this sporting project.
“This is one of the happiest days of my life. We are always focused on work and sometimes we forget about hobbies. I am glad that we are encouraging outdoor sports again which I felt we were slightly lagging behind,” he said.
“Our generation was engrossed in cricket, but this generation is crazy about football,” he continued. “Taking that into account, I am proud that everyone has come together to take this project forward which is very important for a healthy life.”
Mr. Thackeray recalled the time he was a spectator in a football stadium and experienced the atmosphere first hand. “I wish that one day we can put out an Indian team in a World Cup on this ground because of these facilities. We want to fulfill the dreams of young boys and girls through this facility,” he concluded.
“I have discussed how to improve infrastructure for developing non-cricket sports and I am confident that under the leadership of the Maharashtra government, football will become the No.1 sport in Maharashtra,” concluded Mr. Patel.