New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the centre of attention as he arrived at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for team India's first match at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup against USA, here on Friday.
Modi arrived at the venue after the first match of the day in which Ghana edged out Colombia courtesy of a solitary goal by Sadiq Ibrahim.
Modi was joined by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and AIFF President Praful Patel in a jam packed JLN stadium and once he was shown on the giant screen, the entire stadium was drowned in the chants of 'Modi Modi'.
The Indian PM then proceeded to felicitate the likes of Syed Nayeemuddin, Bhaskar Ganguly, Im Vijayan, Bhaichung Bhutia, Madan Singh, Sunil Chhetri and Bembem Devi.
The PM also took to the ground and joined the players for the national anthems of both the teams before kick-off. Modi met and shook hands with the young stars and cheered them up for this historic yet enormous occasion.
Before the start of the tournament, PM Modi lavished praise on the India Under 17 teams during his 'Mann Ki Baat' and said that this tournament will change the football culture in our country.
"My dear countrymen, there is a big opportunity for our younger generation between Navratra festivities and Diwali. FIFA Under-17 World Cup is being organised in our country. I am sure reverberations of the spirit of football will be heard all around," PM Modi said during his 'Mann Ki Baat' address to the country last month.
"It will evince more interest in football in every generation. There should not be a single school-college ground in India where we will not see our youngsters at play. Come on, the whole world is coming to play on Indian soil, let us make sports a part of our lives," he added.