Mumbai, July 7 (IANS) Former Nigeria forward Nwankwo Kanu on Friday said the 1993 U-17 World Cup is a tournament he will always remember being part of and the youth showpiece played a big role in shaping his career.
“It’s something that I’ll always remember. That was a stepping stone for me,” Kanu who is one of the FIFA legends taking part in the draw here, told FIFA’s official website.
“That World Cup made me. Being at the World Cup knowing that they had been doing well, it was a big challenge for the young ones to follow in the footsteps of the ones who have been here and won it (in 1985).
“There was a little bit of pressure on us to come in and do well. When we arrived and saw the atmosphere, how everybody was buzzing, we believed that we could do well,” the former West Bromwich Albion player who scored a hat-trick on his debut at that level, an 8-0 win against Canada at Japan 1993, before going on to lift the trophy with Nigeria, said.
Former Argentina midfielder Esteban Cambiasso added: “: In its history, we call the tournament the ‘U-17 World Cup’, but in the moment that you’re playing it and living it, it’s the World Cup, it’s not the U-17 edition.”
Cambiasso said playing for the country at that level for the first time is a special feeling.
“You never think about the age, you’re thinking that it’s your World Cup. In that moment, it’s the highest level. Playing for the first time for your country is one of the best feelings.
“The first time with your country, your first World Cup, it’s amazing. For me that third place was very good. The first objective that a country has is to play until the final day, and we did. OK, I’d prefer to win the cup, but when I think back now, I’m very happy with our performance.”
The U-17 World Cup starts October 6 with the final slated to be played on October 28.