Arsene Wenger, the former manager of Arsenal, deemed Indian football as a “gold mine” that is only waiting to be discovered. Wenger, who is currently in India as FIFA’s chief of global football development, expressed hope for Indian football’s future.
Tuesday, Nov. 21, is the official opening of the AIFF-FIFA Academy in Bhubaneshwar, a city in the southern Indian state of Odisha, where Wenger and his staff are currently on a three-day tour with the manager known as the “Invincible.” (WATCH: Manvir Singh Powers India To 1-0 Win Over Kuwait In FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers Round 2)
“I would say I was always fascinated by India. My target is to improve football in the world. And it is impossible that a country like India, 1.4 billion, is not on the football world map,” said Wenger.
“I believe you have huge assets, fantastic qualities that make me very optimistic about what you can do here. It is absolutely fantastic to have that opportunity. And with my team, we are really highly motivated to help this country develop in the game. I’m convinced that it’s possible in the very short term.”
#IndianFootball is a gold mine waiting to be explored, says Arsene Wenger
Explaining how a well-oriented talent development scheme can change the face of the game in a country, Mr. Wenger said, “I was in Japan at the start of their football in 1995. In 1998, they were at the World Cup. So that means it is possible. You have to start early.”
Speaking on India’s potential aspirations and goals, Mr. Wenger said, “So imagine the potential that is here if we work well. And my main target here is to convince people that there is a gold mine here but at the moment it is not completely explored, exploited and encouraged.”