The eyes of a nation, and the wider footballing world, will turn to Mumbai on Friday. Esteban Cambiasso, Nwankwo Kanu and a host of other stars from across the host country will descend on the Mumbai Sahara Star Hotel for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 draw.
Kanu lifted the U-17 World Cup trophy back in 1993, scoring five goals as Nigeria were victorious in Japan. Cambiasso was part of the Argentina side that finished third in the 1995 edition, scoring in the play-off for third place against Oman.
Neither current holders Nigeria or Cambiasso’s La Albiceleste are among the 24 qualified teams waiting with baited breath to see the outcome of the draw in Mumbai, but there are a number of first-time participants to catch the eye. Hosts India join African side Niger and Oceanian outfit New Caledonia in making their U-17 World Cup debut.
Africa: Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger
Asia: India (as hosts), Iran, Iraq, Japan, Korea DPR
Europe: England, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey
North, Central America & Caribbean: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, USA
Oceania: New Caledonia, New Zealand
South America: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay
Joining Cambiasso and Kanu as draw assistants will be former India captain Sunil Chhetri and badminton star Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. Chhetri currently plays for Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team, and is both the most-capped player and all-time top goalscorer for the Blue Tigers. Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the youngest Indian to finish on the podium at an individual Olympic event in the process.
The draw will determine which teams will play at the six venues, namely Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Navi Mumbai and New Delhi (where the hosts will play all their group matches). The final will be played at the 66,600 capacity Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium in Kolkata on Saturday 28 October.