India has a huge pool of natural talent for sports. Nearly every sport or event in which Indians have entered has resulted in success for its players, even with many drawbacks they face. But there has always been one black mark, much like South Africa in cricket, which just can’t seem to be written off and that’s Football (or soccer in some countries). Football is the most popular sport in the world. Hundreds of millions of people are Football crazy, whether it’s Europe, America or Asia. So, why hasn’t football caught on as passionately in India? Can we make India a football crazy nation? Let’s explore options here:
6. Shifting focus
It’s sad to say but most Indian sports are overshadowed by India’s popularity for cricket. No other sports get even half the attention that cricket does. And India is a very powerful cricketing nation, but it remains to be seen whether it wants to only be known as a One-Sport Nation. Maybe it’s time to start shifting focus a little and make way for other sports.
5. Making a mark on the game
The true test of one’s ability is to show it in action. India needs to start winning trophies, no matter how big or small. And it’s no easy task, that’s for sure. The above factors taken into account, it could be a few more years until India emerges victorious in a recognized international tournament. But things are looking up. There does seem to be a rave amongst the youth now. Several football lovers have actually been following the domestic cup in India, where Bangalore F.C. won, and been tweeting about it. Small steps like these go a long way.
4. Hosting well publicized tournaments
It’s not just that India doesn’t sway in favor of football, but that the enthusiasm to stay connected is lost. Most countries throughout the world get a chance to see their favorite players come and play in stadiums near them and that’s one thing that’s missing here. There are now several millions of football fans in India; but even they never get to “see”. Do you remember a match between Bayern Munich and India in 2012? Though Bayern won 4-0, it gave a chance for Indians to be exposed to big names in Football, and that definitely keeps the fire going.
3. Ties with international footballers
The world is showing a great interest in India. They recognize the un-nurtured talent that harbors within, just waiting to be tapped. Several foreign delegates of the sport have expressed their willingness to want to train and coach Indians. It’s important that Football professionals get contracted for just such a requirement. Knowing how to play the game and actually playing the game are two completely different things. The experienced should lead the in-experienced.
2. Infrastructural development
The infrastructure for playing football is terrible in India. The stadiums are half built, partially destroyed or not maintained. Playing on one of these fields is like attempting a bicycle kick from halfway down the pitch and scoring i.e. nearly impossible (‘nearly’ because it has actually been done by none other than the GOD of football, ZlatanIbrahimovic in an International friendly match between Sweden and England). An incentive needs to be taken to improve the stadiums and the surrounding infrastructure.
1. Encouraging the youth to play football
Growing up in an Indian school, you’ll rarely find a tournament or competition held in favor of football. Sports like Cricket, Kabaddi, Volleyball and Badminton have such prominence that football is easily overlooked and sidelined. Schools have to take it upon themselves to help encourage football; because after all, there’s no better way to develop the seeds of passion than to sow it in the youth. It is also one of the best exercises their students can get.