Friday, June 18, 2010
Will India qualify 2014 FIFA World Cup?
With the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches are on, we are continue to be supporting big for Argentina, Brazil, Spain, England etc, the common question will again come around. Why isn’t India playing?
I was sharing this painful feeling to my non-Indian colleges and friends here in US; they have just surprised me by asking “dude, do you have a team over there”?
Well guys, The India has a national football team, controlled by the All India Football Federation. It is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, and a member of FIFA. In 1948, the AIFF was affiliated to FIFA. But the fact is India, ranked 133rd in the world, has never come close to qualifying for the World Cup, So dear Mike your question is genuine. Nothing to get surprise. India is not even one of the leading teams in Asia, ranked a lowly 28th behind relative small tiny chain of islands-Maldives.
With a population of more than 1bn one might expect India to be among the world's foot balling superpowers. Articles are written about it, debates are held on various medias, the general public would love to see India play in a football World Cup, but all this is forgotten once the tournament is over. Actually the fact is that a lot of hard work needs to put into Indian football for us to one day qualifying for a football World Cup. Do our Leaders have enough will power and maturity to lead India to the Brazil world cup grounds for 2014? Or at least 2018? Or so on.
Most of us might not be aware; In 1950 FIFA invited India to be play in the World Cup played in Brazil. The world football governing body was willing to pay for the flights! But our great AIFF decided against sending a team as FIFA made it mandatory in 1950 to wear football boots. Indians in those days used to play barefoot and they said such a change would have affected the team’s performance! A blunder decision which still haunts us today. Think about our leaders forecast. The team has never since come close to qualifying for the World Cup.Ok past is past, take it easy, there is no if and else in History. Think about future. How we can take a kick off.
Everyone wants to see India qualify for WC.Public started dreaming India for 2014 WC, 2018 WC, 2022 WC, 2026 WC And remember we don’t have enough patience. We want success, if possible immediately and India should be able to compete against the best in the business like we do in other sports like cricket and hockey. But what is often forgotten is that football is the only global sport with 208 nations and territories as members in FIFA with another dozen countries and territories wanting to be part of the global football family. This highlights how difficult it actually is to qualify for a football World Cup with the qualifiers in Asia amongst the toughest with only four direct spots available amongst 46 Asian nations. So as of now we are not good enough to play amongst the best 32 teams in the world. And then there are many other nations especially countries from Europe and South America. There are many thoughts to pull our legs but be positive, just think about North Korea despite of all political problems they made it to South Africa. And just imagine they too have a same team like Team India. Yes guys we are very close.
Today there is a great confusion weather Hockey is our National game or Cricket. We have totally sidelined football. Cricket it not a sport it is a religion for Indians. Why Cricket got gold and football players are getting Peanuts. (Lesser the wages and lesser the standards of the sport.) The Indian Media is the primary responsible for this. It’s time to think and act. Second one who are holding responsibility is corporate and big business. They should start promote this event too. Good thing is that now corporate are started showing interest. Mahindra was one of the sponsors for FIFA and business people started thinking of investing here and starting 20:20 likes matches. Next thing is professionalism in Indian foot ball. What it means by Football should be managed by the chief executives of marketing or training.
This is professionalism. Last but least is political vision. But if public demands no politician can hold this movement. People too are reluctant to follow a career in professional football. They prefer cricket, especially now that wages in the game are increasing. We need a Sunil Chetri or a Bhaichung Bhutia to get a few big advertising deals in order to prove that money exists in football. Maybe then Indian parents will let their children pursue a career. Just come to any of Indian streets, you see kids playing football in the street with no shoes everywhere in this country but there's no development at youth level. It is very important to spot talented youngsters now so that they will be prepared when the next cycle of World Cup qualification comes around," Talent has to be spotted at a young age and groomed properly those, and coach education, are reasons why we are not as advanced as we should be.
Just one more thing is coming in my mind may be I read it somewhere how about India as a host nation for FIFA world cup? Nothing surprise India can do it. India could get involved in the next bidding cycle for the 2016, 2018 FIFA World Cups. (Not sure this is already booked) This will also bring importance to football in India. As the host nation, India qualifies automatically! (Just kidding we don’t want back door entry). But for this I guess First of all India needs to be recognized as a host nation for big sporting events. The 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi would be a crucial stepping stone; also we are hosting next Cricket World Cup. India becoming a successful host. So we have hope.
Coming back to answer for heading question: FIFA announced 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers start on October 8, 2010.So it is too late for India to dream 2014 WC. In the FIFA world cup 2010 qualifiers, India was eliminated in the first round by Lebanon. But I am sure you can expect to see football done professionally in India soon. It is just a matter of time. Yes Team India will be there soon. At least in 2018 WC.I may miss lot of points here , you are more than welcome to contribute those missed points here.
Posted by Jijo Venginikkadan