Two days before the final of the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE, Rafael Salguero, Chairman of the Organizing Committee (OC) for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and UAE 2013 Tournament Director Mohammed Bin Bdoua attended a press conference to give their thoughts on the competition so far and the upcoming title decider.
Rafael Salguero, Chairman of the OC for the FIFA U-17 World Cup
On how UAE 2013 has gone so far:
FIFA and the Local Organising Committee have put a lot of work into this tournament. My thanks go to all those people who have made this event so successful. The quality of the football has been excellent, the teams are technically very well-schooled, and the physical level of the football has also been impressive. We have witnessed some very exciting games and are on the brink of seeing a new record set for goals scored. Moreover, the games have been broadcast on television across the globe. All of this makes us extremely happy and very proud. This tournament for youngsters is an important platform for the development of football and its biggest emerging talents. The U-17 World Cup offers young people a chance to develop in a positive way – not just as footballers but as human beings as well.
On the United Arab Emirates as host nation:
I have visited every host city and must especially praise the friendliness of the guests that I have encountered. Our expectations have been fulfilled to the maximum. The entire infrastructure of the stadiums, training grounds and hotels has been of the highest quality. The United Arab Emirates have been excellent hosts and have set the bar high indeed for Chile, where the next U-17 World Cup will be held. I will definitely take some wonderful memories home with me, ones that I certainly won’t forget in a hurry.
On the final between Nigeria and Mexico:
Personally, I’m delighted to see a Latin American team in the final. It will no doubt be a great game between the defending champions and an excellent Nigerian side that has impressed from day one. I hope that this final will attract many viewers and give the tournament the send-off it deserves.
Mohammed Bin Bdoua, Tournament Director
On how UAE 2013 has gone so far:
It has been a great tournament so far. Many thanks to everyone for their fantastic work and for playing their part in what has been a great event. I’d like to say a special thank-you to the government, to FIFA and to FIFA's Organising Committee for all the support that we have received. This cooperation has been the key to the event’s success. Every team has played top-class football, and the standard so far has been fantastic. Many of the players we have seen here are on their way to great careers. Furthermore, we’re delighted with the massive level of interest from the media and its extensive coverage of the tournament. The games here have been followed worldwide. The technical reports we have received have all been very positive as well. This World Cup has been a success on every level and the final will hopefully be its crowning glory. I wish all those involved every success and the best of luck.
On the United Arab Emirates as host nation of the FIFA U-17 World Cup and other events:
The United Arab Emirates have gained more valuable experience with this World Cup and will always be in a position to host more major events, not just involving football. It’s wonderful to have received so much positive feedback from so many sides. This encourages and motivates us to strive to stage successful events in the future and be the best possible hosts we can be.
On the performance of UAE at this FIFA U-17 World Cup:
I had obviously hoped the team would qualify for the knockout rounds, but the support they received was exemplary. This will hopefully be a motivation for the next generation of players to be even more successful at future tournaments.