Indian and Football World Cup – A Distant Dream!
My take: Indian football fans are finally proud and feel so elated after India becoming the Country to host the U17 world cup and turning it into a huge success. India also created the record for the highest audience ever for the FIFA U17 event to date. We Indians are very proud of this feat and are riding on the big dream of qualifying/playing in the World Cup and not just Hosting the world cup. FIFA representatives are also hugely appreciated by the Indian Football Association for the wonderful atmosphere while matches.
We could not make it to the last 16’s but did put up a good fight in every match we played. But the bigger dream of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup is more important for a Country with a 1.3bn population and it looks very-very difficult in near future.
We Indians think that India is growing rapidly and will be able to qualify for World Cup as soon as 2026 or 2030. Realistically, Yes India is growing and at a rapid speed. But the fact is that India is now ranked at 105 which is the lowest what we have seen in 1993’s. 24 years passed, and we are still on the same rank.
India as a country is not new to football and we have been playing football since the mid-20th century. We were the only few countries to get selected in the FIFA World Cup 1950. Due to few reasons, we could not play in the tournament which turned out to be India’s biggest loss and we never ever got closer to 3rd round of classification after that event. The Golden era which started in 1950 was cut short to 1960 due to poor quality of infrastructure and inexperienced coaching staff. Since then India is in oblivion while other nations were marching ahead.
What’s the road ahead and when will India qualify?
Qualification of India can happen as quick as 2030 If the Indian football association takes things more seriously and start infusing more funds into infrastructure and players fitness. Ultimately, it’s all in the Investments. Invest in players and build a team on a target based. If Wales can move from 110th rank to 14th rank in just 7-year time, why not India? For that to happen India needs to tick the boxes one after the other very quickly.
I feel the Indian Football team should start looking at the future and plan for bigger events by sending players to international clubs. Playing bigger teams will add more exposure and be learning for the players.
Important Factors to be kept in the loop!
Most importantly Players and the coaching staff. India was nothing in Cricket until Kapil Dev changed the course and inspired many Indians including Sachin Tendulkar. Likewise, Badminton was a stranger game until Pullela Gopichand opened his academy and produced champion players like Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu. If all these things are taken care of, then we can see India playing in the FIFA World Cup by 2030-2034 but if the things remain the same and if we live in invisible glorification like now then we are not going to see India play in World Cup in my lifetime.
It will indeed be a sad thing to happen, as my generation which is still in their 20s wants to see Indian Football on the World platform! Let’s hope by 2034 at least we have a football team that represents FIFA!!