Kolkata, Dec 22: Upbeat over India hosting the 2017 under-17 World Cup football tournament, cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar Sunday said the country has a realistic chance of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals, but it needed to take gradual steps by focusing more on the process.
“We need to be realistic and focus more on the process. We need to take gradual steps. As long as we take gradual steps and focus on the process, the results will be there. You cannot climb straight to the 100th floor. You need to climb from the ground floor,” Tendulkar said at the unveiling of the original FIFA World Cup trophy at a plush five star hotel here.
The iconic batsman, who retired from cricket last month, called the under-17 event a “great platform”.
“India has a realistic chance of participating in the 2022 World Cup finals.”
“The Under-17 World Cup is a great platform and to play in the World Cup you need to have lot of planning, hard work, ensure facilities and build up infrastructure. The Under-17 World Cup will provide all that,” he said.
Turning to 1983, when India lifted the cricket world cup for the first time, Tendulkar said seeing the trophy in skipper Kapil Dev’s hands had made him dream of being in the same position one day.
“1983 was an important year of my life and seeing the world cup in Kapil Dev’s hand was a special moment. And when I saw that, I told myself I want to be in that position one day and hold that trophy.”
“That’s when the dream started and I had to wait 22 years (since beginning his international career in 1989) to realise that dream,” Tendulkar said, referring to India’s triumph in the 2011 World Cup.
“I had to put in lot of hard work, effort and sacrifices and I was happy with that as long as it took me towards my dream,” he said.
The FIFA World Cup trophy, brought to India by sponsors Coca Cola, is now on a 90-country tour, with India being the 52nd stop.
Unveiled by 1970 World Cup winners Brazil’s Carlos Alberto Torress here, the trophy was brought to India from Nepal and will be taken to Myanmar Dec 25.
Besides Tendulkar, Coca Cola happiness ambassador Sourav Ganguly, and former sports greats like Chuni Goswami and Gurbux Singh were present for the ceremony.