New Delhi. The performance of the national team is a reflection of the progress of a game in the country and if we go to this parameter, it would not be wrong to say that the performance of the Indian men’s football team has declined in recent times. Apart from a one-goal victory over Nepal in the ongoing SAFF Championship on Sunday, India’s performance in the tournament has been disappointing and the team has also failed to register a victory against the dominant nations in the past.
India have won the tournament a record seven times but are on the verge of an early exit from the tournament after two consecutive draws against lower-ranked Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The struggle of the team to survive in the regional tournament shows which way it is going. But Sunil Chhetri would have scored in the 72nd minute if he had not won against Nepal.
It is true that in addition to the performance of the national team, a solid youth development program and a competitive league structure are essential for the overall development of the game. The senior team and its head coach Igor Stimak have come under investigation after the men’s team’s poor performance in the ongoing SAIF tournament in the Maldives. Before officials make a decision to get the team out of the current situation, it is important to adopt a strategy of looking at the grassroots without looking at the top and remembering the results of former head coach Bob Hutton.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF), the global governing body, seems to be failing at the top of the attention-seeking process, including the demands and arrangements for the FIFA tournament. Due to this attitude, there is no improvement in the national team level of the country. An improvement in this attitude was never expected. Conversely, national team performance has declined as administrators have focused on bidding and hosting major tournaments on a priority basis.
In addition to FIFA and South Asian football, Shazi Prabhakaran, who has worked for the AIFF for many years, also agreed. He said, “Youth development and youth development is the only way forward. The attitude of focusing only on the top level will not work, it only helps to create enthusiasm. Youth development must be given priority. Saji, the head of Football Delhi, the governing body of football in the national capital, appealed to the AIFF to come together with all the stakeholders.
Now everything is happening at the central level and the state units are weakening. “It wasn’t like that 10 years ago, states were part of the whole process,” he said. We used to do well without resources because we used to work together, now there is no team work in the development of football, no meetings. The world’s teams have improved a lot with less resources and infrastructure than India.
An example of this is Vietnam, which is currently playing in the third round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, while Syria moved closer to qualifying for the World Cup in Russia a few years ago. At the Asian level, South Korea, Japan, Iran and even Iraq have come a long way, with India lagging behind the best teams on the continent.
The story a few years ago was different. Under Houghton’s direction, the team has won three tournaments, defeating respected teams such as Syria and Lebanon. The team also qualified for the AFC Asian Cup after 24 years.
Under the direction of Stephen Constantine, the team ran a record unbeaten campaign and managed to secure a place in the Asian Cup. Steinmack, Konstantin’s successor, has recently been criticized for his lack of results. In 2011, two years after being dropped from the team, an angry Houghton commented, “You can remove the coach and bring in Gus Hiddink or Jose Mourinho, and you will still be in the 140 (at that time) team.” . ‘ Houghton’s frustration must have been with the people in charge of the country’s sports.
Tags: Indian Football, Indian football team, Sports news, Sunil Chhetri