Wednesday, June 23, 2010


As the World rejoices in Football Fever in South Africa, a nation that has always been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons like AIDS and poverty, Indians everywhere have one question lurking in their mind – that is, when we will get a chance to see India playing with the likes of Messi, Torres, Beckham, etc.
The question of ‘when’ will be answered only when we can give a proper explanation to ‘why India isn’t there’. Let us look into the football scenario in India and where football is actually placed by the sports administrators.
It’s not that football is an unacknowledged game in India. It is the next most acknowledged game here after Cricket. Though the rest of the games like Chess, Hockey, Badminton, and Tennis that rank behind football have provided players in the World class level and many-a-time we have seen India shining at the World stage, football remains the only game that has eluded India.
Schools and Colleges have Football tournaments but most of the time we find students participating actively and that too bare-foot; the same reason why India could not participate in the Football World Cup in the year 1952. Though at times an endeavour is made to make shoes compulsory, it felt on deaf ears. We are more accustomed to play when we have no sports gear and fail to match the same level when sports kit is made available to us.
Another and one of the biggest reasons why a 1.2 billion population is not being represented in the World’s most awaited and celebrated sports event is that the IFA lacks vision and mission. Indian football fraternity lacks a clear vision and mission. They are satisfied with the 130+ ranking that India has. They are satisfied to realise that under their guidance major football tournaments at the National Level are being accomplished and they are getting enough media reports.
‘India playing at the World Cup Football Tournament’ - such a vision is absent. The vision has to be there and then will the mission start. Without such a vision that mission stands as aborted.
Now and again almost daily we see that 95% of media coverage regarding the game is about the imported foreign players joining clubs or swapping clubs. Media is not at fault for that is the scenario in the Football Clubs. Millions are wasted on them without anybody thinking that these players won’t represent India at the International level. Then why make such a fuss of them. IFA should know that if India is to play at the World Level these foreign players are of no use. If it’s India who is to play then it should be Indians playing at National level Tourneys. Foreign players are talented no doubt, but that does not serve India and Indian football in the long run.
If you want India to excel at the International Level, then ask the IFA bosses to
1. Develop a vision and mission for the year 2022
2. Reducing the participation of Off-shore players gradually to NIL.
3. Develop proper infrastructure which includes better fields and stadiums
4. Try and get deals to play football with Major football clubs like ManU, Chelsea, etc

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