NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met the Indian U-17 football team, who represented the nation in the FIFA World Cup for the first time in Indian sports history.
The India U-17 team were invited by Prime Minister Modi at his office after they came back from Saudi Arabia following the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers.
Reflecting on his meeting with the U-17 team, the prime minister said, "I personally requested for this meeting as I saw some spark in all of you. Based on your performance people have started knowing you so there is a huge responsibility on your shoulders."
Delighted to interact with Komal Thatal, the stupendous midfielder who hails from Sikkim. He has played over 30 games for India. pic.twitter.com/nG5R6e9len— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 10, 2017
He further said that the boys must stay together as a team and in a few years time should establish themselves as professional players.
"Consider this U-17 WC as just a preparation for the future. I hope you stick together as a team and in five-seven years time represent the country with great laurels," he stated.
The sports-enthusiast leader, who has mentioned the significance of sports umpteenth times in 'Mann ki Baat', expressed there was no life without sports.
"There is no life without sports. Football is a very intense game. Hope you can inspire people to inculcate sports as part of their daily lives," Prime Minister Modi added.
Prime Minister Modi, who was present at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi during India's FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 opener against the USA, said that Jeakson's goal against Colombia in their second match was the "biggest reason for all of us to celebrate".
"When Jeakson scored the goal it gave the biggest reason for all of us to celebrate."
India's run at the FIFA U-17 World Cup came to an end after slumping to a 0-4 defeat at the hands of Ghana in their last Group A fixture.
The India U-17 team are now slated to play their trade in the upcoming I-League 2017-18.