Football in India is on the up. With football gaining more and more mainstream media, the national team has also reached new heights.
Indian football team reached a position of 101 in the latest FIFA rankings. It is a brilliant rise as the team was ranked 173 just two years ago. Much of the credit goes to Indian coach Stephen Constantine who is currently in his second stint as the coach of Indian team. He was coach of the team for three years, from 2002 to 2005, before leaving on mutual consent. India has won 11 of its last 13 matches, scoring 31 goals in the process. The most notable of these victories was a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico and 1-0 win against Myanmar, their first in 64 years in Myanmar. National team has clearly benefited from the growth in the game’s popularity throughout India. The establishment of Indian Super League has also helped the youngsters to learn the trade from football greats.
What they said
Regarding India’s growth in the last two years, coach Stephen Constantine said “It has been a difficult road. Bringing in new blood and creating competition for places in team has been a process, and I’m pleased we are moving in the right direction.”
Constantine said he did not deserve all the praise and added” It’s been a total team effort. Unless Mr Patel (AIFF chief, Praful Patel) and Mr Das (AIFF General Secretary, Kushal Das) allowed me to do the things and the manner I wanted it to be done, this won’t have been possible ever. I also need to thank the support staff for their commitment for the team.”
There were comments from Praful Patel and Kushal Das as well. Patel called it “a great achievement and a fruitful reward for the hard work displayed by the team and the support staff”. Das added that the AIFF is “delighted to achieve this milestone and hope to display the same character”.
Indian football is on the up. Despite rising 31 places in the last month India still lies in the 5th place in its group of AFC World Cup Qualifier with just one win. We all knew that reaching the World Cup finals is not a realistic target until at least the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. If Indian football stays on its track then great things can be expected. As mentioned earlier, Indian Super League has helped a lot. Young local footballers are getting a chance to learn under greats like Roberto Carlos, Zico, Marco Materazzi and Gianluca Zambrotta. They are also getting a chance to play in the same team as Nicolas Anelka, Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires and Mikel Silvestre. If the youngsters keep on progressing the way they have then there is no doubt that this nation of 1.2 billion people will get the football team it deserves.