Indian Football is not a superpower. And as we talk about being a superpower, I would go on to say that we do not even have an above-average team. The national football team was at its peak when we qualified for the FIFA World Cup back in 1952 and since then we have never managed to achieve that feat. So, why is India not great at football? We are a nation of 1.3 billion people; don’t we have a good set of 17 to 18 players that can challenge nations across the globe? Here is an in-depth look:
Indian Football Management is Not Structured:
Indian cricket has one of the most amazing structures when it comes to management. We have the state-level associations that report to the BCCI. The state-level organizations further have local bodies and academies that work on scouting and grooming players. The football circuit on the other hand is devoid of such a structure. We have the AIFF. The AIFF is the “All India Football Federation”.
The AIFF doesn’t have further segregation into state associations. Also, football follows a club-type structure. These clubs need to have a lot of financial support. The thing is when we talk about clubs, and extent of privatization is required. Private firms need to invest money to grow, groom, and train players. And if we talk about the government or states making associations to scout players, there the government is skeptical about investing money.
Private companies do not invest money because “Football is not a religion” in our country whereas cricket is a religion. And the government doesn’t invest money because they are not getting much in return.
Legal Disputes have Marred Indian Football:
In recent times efforts have been made to grow football. The Indian Super League was a revolutionary step in Indian football. Indian football earlier had never seen that amount of money. But the makers of the I-League got into a legal dispute with the creators of the ISL to determine which is the supreme decisive league in our country.
This legal battle has marred Indian Football as a whole. Once the top players in the country are playing the I-League with a different set of players, the other time they are playing ISL games for different clubs. The I-League standard was so bad at a time that it even struggled to get an official broadcaster for their games across the nation.
Not Every State Produces Footballers:
We do have a few states producing immensely talented footballers. But there are many more such places that do not have a sign of football. Cricket, on the other hand, is played and seen in every Indian household. So, Goa, West Bengal, Ladakh, and the towns like Mumbai and Bangalore do give footballers and have the “Football Culture” but our nation is much much more than just these few places. When this game will come to the small towns only then the true Indian talent will go ahead.
There are many more reasons but to sum it up, these 3 are the most important ones.
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To know more go to the official website of the AIFF.