FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Earlier today Indian sports minister Vijay Goel and All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief Praful Patel unveiled ‘Kheleo’ as the official mascot of the’ FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. With its habitat ranging from the foothills of the Himalayas to mainland southeast Asia, the clouded leopard is considered a coveted and endangered species, something which has added to its uniqueness with it ending up as a face of this much-awaited tournament.
“We are sure that he will be one of the most memorable mascots a sporting event in India has ever seen. Kheleo is young, vibrant, enthusiastic and a perfect representation of our country. He will help us to involve kids with football in a fun way.”
Praful Patel, however, was at a loss of words when asked about former Indian U-17 coach Nicolai Adam’ssuffering just a few days prior to the tournament.
“The friction between the coach and players had reached a level where it was difficult to reconcile. It was a hostile atmosphere when we received the complaints from the players. We acted swiftly. It was best in the interest of the team. Plans are afoot to appoint new coach as early as possible. When the new coach joins the team, to bridge the gap between him and players we will take the services of football icon Bhaichung Bhutia and former players.”
With just over 237 days left for the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, one of the major football tournament to commence in the subcontinent, there have been huge anticipation for the event but the home team’s management problems might just be responsible for a possible roadblock when it comes to winning the tournament.