Panaji, June 22 : With FIFA expected to expand participation of Asian countries from four to eight in the football World Cup by 2026, former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Friday said, that India's best chance at making it to the mega event lay eight years down the line.
"2026 is when we are hoping to get eight teams from Asia qualify for the World Cup. Now we have four teams. So 2026 should have eight teams from Asia. So hopefully India can try and make it during that time," Bhutia said, while speaking at convocation ceremony for 15 players who completed their training at Vedanta's Goa-based SESA Football Academy.
"Goa brings back a bundle of childhood memories. SFA has been doing some great work for the football community by grooming young players and producing good football talent. It is good to see these young players get such amazing guidance and facilities," Bhutia, who is an advisor to the academy, added.