The beautiful game has its ardent followers in the subcontinent thoughAi??their zest and enthusiasm comes into picture once in a while. Unfortunately it doesnai??i??t come when Indian football team is participating in a qualifier or a tournament or when the I-league enters a nerve cracking finale. Itai??i??s usually associated with the World Cups, Euros, Champions league, EPL, La Liga etc.

The common man always views International football and Indian football differently. Indian football doesnai??i??t attract them. Simply putting, it does not possess the charisma to make people glued to TV when the national team bleeds blue. A nation with a population of more than 1.2 billion, its footballing stature is remarkably poor. India is not devoid of sporting talent, but they are unable to scout for more talent. Football is stuck in a mess of poor infrastructure, poor brand name and dismal government support. Most importantly, pursuing a career in football is a distant dream with roadblocks at every small step.

Unlike the other footballing minnows across the largest continent, India has a rich history of football. The first football club in India defeated the British clubs to lay the foundation; the national team were the top brand in Asia during the 50ai??i??s; they even got their chance in the World Cup and Olympics. But, their successors are finding it difficult to establish their own legacy in the most famous game on the planet in a cricketing mad nation.

The lack of Infrastructure is a major concern where as media coverage is also very much limited. One can say that football standards are below par and there needs to be an improvement. If things fall into the right place, media will be interested and more people will spend time covering this game. Once the media and the brand name increases, owners and the government will be ready to invest expecting more returns. Itai??i??s a global sport and global coverage will be one of the main attractions for the investors. Businessmen will be ready to jump once they see some potential and that is what Indian football needs to offer.

Another problem lies in the way football is treated at grass root level. Playing the beautiful game as a child is not the option many kids take up. Some children are taking football as a way to showcase their skills on the ball and once they master a trick or two, they are not ready to learn the next step. Arrogance creeps into them and showcasing their skills becomes the priority rather than learning the trade; team spirit and discipline is not something they can learn with tricks.

A child tries to replicate what he finds attractive, spending more time in-front of Television, computer and video games in which he tends to pick up the fancy tricks. They need a good mentors who can provide the necessary ingredients to cook up a professional footballer. If the child gets knowledge of what to do and what not, it can fine tune his career.

Lack of guidance at a young age is one of the major culprits behind the dismal state of affairs of Indian football. Hard working youngsters with the right guidance can master this game and there arises the need to catch and groom them young. According to famous sports management professor, David Shilbury, ai???India has all the talents, but India lacks good sports managersai???.

The above statement points out the flaws in the Indian football management. If India can become a cricketing powerhouse then why not football. If people are ready to spend two hours in front of television, then this game can attract millions with its entertainment and flair. All we lack is the start or the reason to love this game and it is a fact that once we fall for this game then there is no turning back.

Indian football

Indian football

Uttam in action at the 2012 Dallas Cup

Indian football

The current crop of Indian footballers can ignite the national pride but we need more achievements and glory to popularize the game in the subcontinent. The likes of Vijayan and Bhutia were national icons but they couldnai??i??t become the global icons which will ignite passion at the grassroots. Sunil Chettri is a household name in the Indian football fraternity, but can he take the next big step?. Youngsters like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Alwyn George and Lalrindika Ralte are look very promising and the performance of India U22 in AFC qualifiers provides a lot of optimism. U-16 star, Uttam Rai, is another hot prospect from this country.

Rob Baanai??i??s appointment as the technical director is showing significant signs of the start of a new era. Arthur Papas’ boys have shown the way to change the footballing philosophy of the country; Wim Kovermars is thought to be a preacher of possession based football and we hope that he can build on the success achieved by Papas’ youngAi?? fighters at the senior level.

The AIFF management team is also taking the right steps by providing support and guidance to the clubs to become independent and self managed. More big names are coming to I-League; Costa Rican international, Carlos Hernandez, who played in 2006 world cup has joined I-League to become a part of history. India’s bid to host the 2017 U-17 World Cup surely indicates the support of governing bodies to popularize the game and the belief that this is the start of new era of Indian football. Commercial football events like Pepsi T20, Premier League soccer were watched with keen eyes from all over India.

This may be the dawn of a new era in Indian football but the nation needs the support from its citizens to make it a grand success. Follow the Indian football team, follow the I-league, follow the players and the standards will improve, brand name is going to improve and India will slowly march the ladders of World football. Willing to be a part of it?

~~ Written by Joseph George ~~

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9 Responses to “Indian Football : Why Not National Football Over International Football ?”

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  1. Blue tigers says:

    Telecast i leage matches and indian national team mathes in national chanell dooradarshan….telicast atleat 2wo i lege mathes every week……then football will overtake cricket in india…..now criket is not popular in india…no one is watching criket…….if i leage mathes or national team world cup qualifiers or nehru cup telicast on dooradarshan then football will becom popular in india…..der is no way to watch indian team mathes then how could football popular in india?if aiiff use brain indian football will overtake cricket in india……

  2. Blue tigers says:

    Telecast i leage matches and indian national team mathes in national chanell dooradarshan….telicast atleat 2wo i lege mathes every week……then football will overtake cricket in india…..now criket is not popular in india…no one is watching criket…….if i leage mathes or national team world cup qualifiers or nehru cup telicast on dooradarshan then football will becom popular in india….

    • Joy says:

      I absolutly agree with blue tiger.i am a big football fan.in kolkata without a news chanel there is’nt a brodcast of i legue matches except eb vs mb.

  3. Joseph says:

    Media and AIFF couldn’t reach an agreement in santhosh trophy semifinals. Their evaluations are miles apart, if more fan following is there then telecasters will come forward with whopping offers. Last season’s I-League was telecasted in Ten Sports, even hardcore football fans (epl, la-liga) didn’t watch much games:(

  4. JM says:

    “If India can become a cricketing powerhouse then why not football.” -> cricket is seriously played by 6-8 nations. So it is easy to become no.1 in that sport. Since we do not have a sports culture ppl gets carried away with whatever they see on media.
    In football it is quite difficult to achieve certain level. Even Asian powerhouses Japan-Korea will struggle against Europe/Latin teams. So our aim first should be to become a good team in Asia. It is difficult, may be with proper management and infrastructure we can achieve it in future

    • Joseph says:

      Indian football team needs a saviour. If we can produce a top class player who can make an identity at Asian Level then everything can change as people will start following him and thereby Indian football. The performance of Alwyn, Ralte and Gurpreet at AFC-22 qualifiers gives us that impression that one of them can make it big. I really hope so.

  5. Kato says:

    Why not important matches of I league filled with full spectators like Lajong FC and Pune fc be telecast ? Football comes its interest with full , loud and enthusiast fans. I guess nobdy would watch dull empty stands match of big clubs like Dempo etc etc. Yeah also telecast Nehru cup etc in DD sports which can be reached to nook and corner of India.

    • Joseph says:

      Nehru cup can be a turning point iff India can play possession based football and attract the crowd. It will be a welcome change from the hoof-ball tactics. If youngster’s get’s hold of this game and then the team can reach further heights and slowly India will march the ladders of World football.

  6. Appu says:

    With your acumen, I think this is uncommon but true observation.