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Foundation laid for 'Football House'

January 09, 2004 20:28 IST

It was a "historic day" for Indian football, as Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat laid the foundation stone for the All India Football Federation's headquarters, 'Football House', on Friday.

"Indian football can certainly look forward to better times. We just have to pick players at a young age and provide them all the facilities," Shekhawat said in Delhi, as he unveiled the foundation stone in the presence of Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam and Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit.

A keen soccer enthusiast, Shekhawat echoed AFC secretary-general Peter Velappan's views, saying: "India can certainly be a football powerhouse if we provide the right training for the youngsters."

Chief guest Hammam called it a "historic day as the effort begins to bring Indian football back to its old standards".

"The job is to wake up a sleeping giant and make India a super power in the next 10 years," he said.

To acheive this vision the AFC president requested all assistance from the central and state governments.

"We are in bad need for support from Government of India or we need to take our football to grassroots, to schools. Also, with the help of one billion fans our efforts cannot go wrong," Hammam said.

"The future is Asia and the Asian future has come to start from India."

Football House, a three-storey building to come up with an estimated budget of Rs 4.5 crore in a year's time at Dwarka, will be built under the direct supervision of FIFA. It will be funded under the Goal Project, under which the world body will provide maximum assistance to the tune of US $400,000.

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