Yes and India will not be able to play in the FIFA World Cup for the next 30 years, says columnist and journalist Abhishek Dubey. “But there is a short-cut. We can play in the World Cup if India hosts the tournament. The host nation automatically gets a chance to play,” says senior journalist Ayaz Memon!
Dubey and Memon were answering questions on BoomNews’s show #IndiaHangout.
The FIFA rankings for India has always been low – the low point being 169 in 2012 and a high of 94 in 1996. While Dubey feels India has primarily become a single sports nation (cricket), English Premier League (EPL) has brought world-class football to Indian drawing rooms. “India is an aspirational society now. More needs to be done.”
Memon said there has not been enough nurturing of football talent in India. “Football is basically a fundamental game. The eco-system of clubs and the federation is factionalised. Even the national team has not made any progress.”
While three sports – cricket, football and hockey – had the same following in India in the 60s, “football and hockey lost the plot; cricket grabbed the agenda,” Memon said.
Dubey’s grouse is that our focus is not properly on sports. “Will we ever see an Indian winning 100m race in the Olympics? We need to change the mindset of the nation.”
Memon is optimistic and says: “We may be at a tipping point in sports: Football clubs now want to tap into India.”