Arsenal football legend Robert Pires, one of the greatest wingers to play for the English Premier League team, interacted with International Business Times, India sports reporter Sayantan on the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017.
Pires, 43, who was an integral part of the Gunners squad during the 'Invincibles' era of the early 2000s, is in Bengaluru as a part of the Premier League live event taking place this weekend. He was present at the PUMA Store in Indiranagar on Saturday morning.
India might be out of the FIFA U-17 World Cup after three back-to-back defeats against USA, Colombia and Ghana, but there are many promising youngsters who have stole attention. Dheeraj Moirangthem, Komal Thatal and more feature in that list.
Speaking exclusively to us on Saturday October 14, Pires says the boys should keep the focus and remember that their learning process will remain the most important thing, going forward. EXCERPTS:
"I think it's good news for India to organise the FIFA U-17 World Cup because lots of people can watch the game. I think the most important thing is not to win, but to learn," said Pires.
"Of course, for the Indian players, it was very difficult, especially in their last game [of the FIFA World Cup] against Ghana. There was a big difference [in the quality] between Ghana and India. But that is not the problem for me.
"The most important thing is to focus. And India can win the next Asia cup. I'm very confident and positive about India.
"I know a little bit about Indian football because I used to play for FC Goa, so there is good talent and good players and this is the most important thing. This is a new generation with the Under 17 players and now we need to prepare for the next competitions like the Asia Cup."
Next big assignment for India: The AFC U-16 Championship 2018 in September to October. The current India U-17 football team performed well to qualify for the football tournament in Malaysia by virtue of being the 1st best runners-up in the AFC U-16 Championship Qualification tournament earlier this year.
The current India U-17 football team, meanwhile, ply their trade in the crucial U-19 AFC Championship qualifiers, which will start in Saudi Arabia on November 4.
Watch the full conversation with Robert Pires: