So it was 8.30 pm in my clock, back from the local rush on a busy weekday. It was raining cats & dogs & with nothing to do I turned on the channel. The usual habit being to scout good entertainment made me go through the English movie channel list. With nothing interesting, I turned to sports segment, & as I was switching channels, I found that there was a live football match. The title list at the bottom denoted, India vs UAE U-16 AFC championship.
Out of sheer excitement, I decided to give it a shot & watch it, knowing in my subconscious that it will be a boring match, full of long balls, sloppy passing & a rudderless Indian side.
& oh boy I was proved very wrong!
The young boys, although skinny & no match to their counterparts, looked very confident on the ball. The balance on the ball most times was premier league class (I watch the EPL a lot, therefore the comparison), the passes some times were shabby but the runs of the ball, the counter attack was top class.
Now, watching the match, I couldn’t help realize that it’s time we take Indian Football seriously. Yes, the Indian football fans these days, understands football very well & are glued to Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 etc. Its time we start following & supporting Indian Football, at all levels.
I believe that the sudden interest has been started off due to the successful ISL (Indian Super League) seasons in the past. Yes, many fans have criticized its structure as it downgrades the official FIFA approved i-league, which has been in existence for some time now. However, I believe that the objective of ISL was to increase the popularity in India, start grass root football , to encourage young kids to take up the sport, & build quality infrastructure. Yes, that has been achieved!
While I was thinking about these things, the India U16 team lost to UAE, but that was not a disappointment. Seeing the boys give out their best with attacking football gave me hope, hope for the future of Indian Football.
Players like Boris Singh, Sanjeev Stalin, Aniket Jadhav, Komal Thatal, Suresh Singh & many more are the ray of hope which may take Indian Football ahead after Sunil Chettri & co.
With the match on my mind for couple of days, India played Saudi Arabia, who is considered one of the powerhouses of Asian Football. India took the lead, but lost the plot in the second half, drawing 3-3 by the final whistle. India plays Iran today, if they win, they qualify for the semis & I hope they do, to keep the Indian flag flying high.
As the India U-16 coach Nicolai Adam said, “Either they win or they learn” – the learning will continue over the years with India foraying into new territory, a territory which was always filled by other sports. The talent is starting to develop like a bud on small plant, the skills are there to be developed further, the manure (read infrastructure) is starting to develop which will provide fodder to the plant, but will the plant blossom into a beautiful tree, time will tell.
Till then, let’s support the Indian Football team whole heartedly tonight, as they push for qualification in the semis of the AFC.
Come on India!