Nehru Cup, what next?

Which team do you support? England, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain or countless other world class team playing the sport we love as never seen before BUT not a single person would come forward saying that 'I support India!'.

It is a great achievement that Bob Houghton's side managed to regain the Nehru Cup in fascinating style as Subrata Paul saved 3 crucial penalties which led us to lift the trophy - a moment of pride - indeed...or is it?

It just sickens to hear of the fact that India stands at a astounding 149th rank in the world! Some people love defending the fact that it has rose greatly from being 156th prior to the Nehru Cup yet it's quite difficult to cloak the undeniable truth that a talented nation of a billion people can't muster 11 people to compete on the international stage.

A country of 1.1 billion people - one of the fastest growing economies in the world hasn't even qualified for the World Cup since 1950! If cricketers can be handpicked from Meerut, Jamshedpur, Ernakulam and the likes of it why can't we find top notch footballers?

It's not a question of ability but it's a question of attitude on the part of the administration and machinery precisely at every state level. The problem lies not only at the surface but at the very grass roots - poor pitch conditions, improper training facilities, lack of adequate and specialized staff to name a few. Medical staff is a rarity in itself in Indian football clubs.

Moreover you can't expect India to play out-of-the world football in a couple of matches and see a jolt in rankings - tell me, when did you last hear India play a friendly?

The biggest problem in comparison with European League football is that it's not only of much higher standards but it's also aspirational - Indian football is neither! All these problems need to be addressed and quickly if we are to progress. A system needs to be instilled in Indian football for a better future.

At a time when we should be watching India playing the World Cup qualifiers, we are basking on the glory of a under-performing nation winning the Nehru Cup. The truth is that football is on the rise in India.

The trend is surely changing in this cricket frenzy nation - you can tell that by the United hoardings in Colaba or the Liverpool Chelsea jerseys outside every Adidas outlets.

On the positive side Bob Houghton managing our side is the best thing that has happened to Indian football since Bhaichung Bhutia. India's win over Syria is surely a progress in the right direction. Step by step progress is necessary and the next imminent step is qualifying for the Asian Cup in Qatar 2011.

After that even the World Cup might seem a distant possibility - Well...these are all long shots for a team like India but as we all know as Aragorn says..."There's always hope!"
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  1. Sagar C Divate says: November 8, 2009 at 1:31 PM

    see india has qualified for asia cup 2011 now the authourity should look publicise more about indian football in order to increase viewership & fan following & the game will only be benefited when the mass is with it

  2. there is certainly a future.......lets hope it is a bright one