Tim Cahill. (Getty Images)Alongside luminaries such as Cafu, Xavi and Samuel Eto’o, Tim Cahill is now an official ambassador for the Fifa World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Having retired after a stint with Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL), the Australian legend speaks exclusively to TOI about the coronavirus pandemic, preparations for the World Cup and his grounding experience in India. Edited excerpts… The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is still more than two years away, but given the chaos that the pandemic has sparked, will there be any impact? One thing I know is that everything is on schedule. Eighty percent of the competition stadiums are on its way. The coronavirus has affected different countries in different ways, but with the Word Cup (preparations), everything is on schedule, which is really impressive. Your career included stints in England, US, China and Australia. Why did you choose India as your final destination? India is definitely a country which I was really interested in. We have a really close relationship with India because of cricket. One of my closest friends is Brett Lee, David Warner, (Steven) Smith, Shane Watson, a lot of guys who I know very well. Getting that opportunity later in my career, I couldn’t turn it down. Due to injury, you could play only 11 games for Jamshedpur, but how was the overall experience in India? Amazing. It wasn’t just about football, it was just as much about off the field, in my interactions of helping the club develop stronger professional ties with my knowledge as a footballer who played four World Cups, Premier League and around the world. We were three hours away from an airport and I was training twice a day, helping players to really make the most of this opportunity. I loved it. It grounded me to live so close in the village with local families, to see thousands of people at the stadium, travel around, understand the culture, the food, the logistics of travel. It opened my eyes in a whole different level.



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