Let’s Football: With a population of 135.6 crores people, India manages to be the second-largest country in the world in terms of population. India has become a hub of sports and is doing a great job of managing it.
There was a time when people in India only care about Cricket and it was believed by some people that other sports don’t even have a chance to take stand in India. But as time passed and our television channels became more advanced, more matches are being telecasted and people came to know about other sports. Now, India is doing great in the sports field and will continue to grow like this. Well, in Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) football is still not considered a good career option.
Why is it so?
Why even though when the Indian national football captain requested his citizens to come and watch their match for free no one comes except for a few.
AIFF(ALL INDIA FOOTBALL FEDERATION)
I feel football is not getting the hype it would have got, and one of the reasons behind this is none other than our media and the facilities provided by AIFF.
AIFF is the governing body of association football in India. Formed in 1937, the federation was one of the founding members of the Asian Football Confederation, the overseer of football in Asia.
The AIFF sanctions and runs all competitive tournaments and leagues at a national level, namely the Indian Super League, I-League, and Super Cup. The federation also indirectly manages local competitions through the state associations. The federation is also responsible for managing the India national football team, as well as the women’s team and the various youth national sides.
The AIFF is also part of the South Asian Football Federation, the organization that runs football in South Asia. The federation is currently based in Dwarka, Delhi.
AIFF has failed in the promotion of football. It is the only reason that ISL is more popular than I-league. Though ISL will help to promote, I don’t think it is a proper solution for the development of players. Most ISL clubs don’t have training facilities or youth academies and they don’t even play or train after the “season” (if that’s what they call 3 months) is over.
Media is also equally responsible for the failure of promotion, they don’t promote football as they do it for cricket and it’s all because of the TRP game they all are in for.
India qualified for the World Cup only once, by default in 1950 when all of its scheduled opponents withdrew. However, the AIFF, could not send the team to play, missing a historic opportunity.
Since then, India has been struggling to register its presence in the world of football. Several of India’s neighbors have bested it at the game, a disappointing sign for a country as large as India, which should be able to field at least some talent. In South Asia’s regional championship last year, Afghanistan handily defeated India.
It is not that we Indians do not play football. We do. There are many regions in India where clubs have been in existence for six to seven decades. India also holds many domestic championships. It may become more popular with the establishment of a new league championship modeled on the pattern of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a popular league tournament for cricket. The idea of the latest initiative is to make football a viable career option for players and promote the game among the next generation.
But can this commercial venture lead to the creation of a world-class national team? There is not much reason for optimism. While the formation of a national league may allow players to earn more money from this profession, this will not necessarily make them world-class players, fit to compete with other nations. India will still struggle to defeat small, nondescript nations. While some Indian states such as Kerala, Goa, and West Bengal have been vying with each other to win national championships for decades, this competition has not produced players worthy of international stature.
Do Indian players lack the physical strength and agility needed to be world-class players? This is a valid question. Cricket does not require the kind of physical stamina and resilience that football requires. This makes it easier to succeed in cricket if one is not following a very strict fitness regime. This, however, is not true of football.