The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Football Association of Odisha felicitated FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura here on Tuesday.
Speaking after her felicitation Samoura said, “I had first come to India as a fresh graduate when I was working for IFCO and had the opportunity to see your country then. With pleasure, I stand here again, and it’s good to see that the AIFF has ensured football takes the centerpiece in India.”
“With the population that India has, we are sure that it won’t be long before we see your country lifting the FIFA World Cup trophy. But what would be more pleasing to see is if your women’s team does it,” Samoura said.
“The FIFA President (Gianni Infantino) has also heard your request of hosting other senior competitions with other Member Associations, and I know you have the commitment, capacity, and stamina to do so in a grand manner,” she added.
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, Treasurer Kipa Ajay, FAO Secretary Asirbad Behera, along with members of the AIFF’s Executive Committee and a number of former and current India International footballers were present at the felicitation.
The FIFA Secretary General went on to later attend the opening day’s matches of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey hailed the FIF’ U-17 Women’s World Cup as a landmark event that would help galvanize not only women’s football but also education as well.
“Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji lays so much emphasis on the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao movement, and these are things that we cannot compromise on,” said Chaubey.
“The security, safety, and education of young girls in India are a must. That is why we are looking to educate young girls and upgrade their football skills at the same time as well. This is how we can be a partner to the growth of women’s football.”
AIFF Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran welcomed Samoura to India, and further went on to hail the Government of Odisha for its support to the Indian sporting ecosystem.
“Odisha is the land of opportunities in sports, and we must thank the Odisha Government for their constant support. They have changed the landscape, and together, we will work towards making Indian Football better,” said Dr. Prabhakaran.