Indian Football: Rise or demise?
Indian football teams won’t be taking part in the upcoming Asian Cup 2019.
After a heart-warming public request from our Captain Sunil Chhetri, we thought that The Beautiful Game was starting to catch the eyes of the our population. But was it the same with the authorities up top? The decision of Indian Olympic Association to not send the Indian Football teams to Asian Cup 2019 is a major setback for the future of the game in the country.
A country as crazy about football as ours, where people stay awake till 3 A.M. just to watch their favourite football teams play should atleast take every possible step that promotes the growth of football in our country, but this doesn’t seem to be the case with our authorities. Their mindset is still what it was in the 90s.
The Indian Olympic Association had decided against sending the men’s and women’s football teams to Indonesia this time after they failed to meet the qualifying criteria set by the Olympic body.
The IOA chose not to clear Indian men’s and women’s football teams after deeming them “incompetent” to win any medals.
The Indian men’s football team was hoping to use the Asian Games as a build up for next year’s AFC Asian Cup.
The decision has led to a controversy with All India Football Federation (AIFF) calling IOA’s decision “myopic”.
The move created a storm in the football community as the men’s team has been witnessing a steady rise in the past few years. The national side has jumped from 173 to 97 in the FIFA rankings, qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 and has successfully hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
A ticket to the Asian Games doesn’t automatically translate into a pass for the FIFA World Cup — but it sure gives hope that progress is being made.
The ‘Blue Tigers’ are currently ranked 14th in Asia, after a string of recent good performances in international matches.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) made attempts to draw home this point to the IOA. But for some strange reason, the IOA failed to see the point at all. This, when football has been classified as a priority sport by the sports ministry.
The AIFF has claimed that while it sent two presentations to the IOA explaining why football needed to be treated differently and how the consistent progress being made could not be dismissed, the IOA did not bother to respond to the pitch made through the presentations.
All we can do right now is to hope that a real life Kabir Khan appears who can change their mentality.