Our Indian National Football Team drew Oman 1-1 in the World Cup Qualifiers on the 25th of March. And yet, there isn’t enough awareness about this.
What Happened To The Fans?
Firstly, the fans have no channel that broadcasts these matches. Indian Sports Channels broadcast highlights of cricket matches, English Premier League and Bundesliga. Indian Football has left all adrift of the fans who enjoy watching football.
Those who stream it online, are dubbed to be succumbing to piracy and in lieu, cybercrime. The problem has been around for a long time, and it is not that we haven’t recognised them. It’s just that we choose not to do anything about it.
We have been very rightly criticized for being partisan to cricket. However, we must realise that there has been a considerable amount of investment and commitment made to cricket, which now produces world-class cricketers in every new series that India plays.
With the same drive, one might hope that we produce the same class of footballers in India.
Football For All
Anyone who says that Indians don’t have a knack and the skill to play football is utterly wrong. Likes of Bhaichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri, who have the most international goals after Cristiano Ronaldo, and are currently on active duty.
These players recognise the problem and it is fact that we lack state-of-the-art facilities and the grassroots nurturing that is required to make the sport shine. The youngsters need motivation, grooming, commitment and a stage to set the record straight.
Imagine the Captain of the Indian National Football team pleading to the masses to come and watch them play in stadiums, even if they are worthy of criticism.
“I mean it’s not fun to criticise and abuse on the internet. Come to the stadium, do it on our face, scream at us, shout at us, abuse us, who knows one day we might change you guys, you might start cheering for us. You guys have no idea how important you guys are and how important your support is”, is what he said while trying to make the sport that the world loves, relevant in India.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has set up grassroots training programs since the recognition and now are working towards the same.
The Way Forward
The AIFF has looked forward to Grassroots Football in India. Grassroots Football lays the foundation of the sport, and its primary aim is to increase participation for children, youth, amateurs, veterans, those with physical disabilities, cerebral palsy, visually impaired and even the socially disadvantaged.
They lay stress on the fact that there have to be quality certified coaches, Baby Leagues and Grassroots Festivals that do not fall under professional football. However, it is an important part of integrating more people with football.
Lastly, there should be more broadcasts on Indian television, to make people aware of the progress and further bring football into the mainstream. National Centre of Excellence is a project that is underway to hone the best of skills.
Football really needs a place under the spotlight in India.
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This post is tagged under: football, football in India, Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, a plea to Indian football fans, cricket professional, cricket fans of India, why football is not as famous as cricket, grassroots football, football for all, blind football, baby leagues in football, national centre of excellence, Indian National Football Team