The growth of Indian Football has been on the rise ever since the Indian Super League came into the fray. The domestic league has helped in the development of the domestic players while improving the quality of play at large. India has become one of the top 20 Asian football teams.
The All India Football Federation(AIFF) is to thank for the improvement in the standards of Indian Football. Owing to their developmental activities in the past few years, the seeds for future growth have been sown.
AIFF’s Grassroot Programme which started in 2012 has made major improvements at the local level. The AIFF Grassroots program pays special attention to the quality and quantity of licensed E-certificate coaches, accredited academics, grassroots festivals, Golden Baby Leagues, amateur football tournaments, and anything which comes under the umbrella of professional Football.
India has also seen the introduction of Futsal Leagues. Legendary players like Ronaldinho have promoted the sport in different parts of the country. A scouting programme has also been laid down by the AIFF through a network of scouts across the country. Local competitions like AIFF Baby League, inter-School, inter-College, etc have helped in unearthing the local talent.
The AIFF Masters Program – the first of its kind is a program run in association with La Liga club, Cadiz FC. This program allows a student to gain hands-on experiential training on every aspect of football in India and abroad. The program offers exclusive and rare insights into the operations of a European Football Club – Cádiz CF, by allowing students to play at the club for a month.
India recently defeated Nepal to become South Asian Champions for the eighth time. India now looks forward to becoming a force to reckon with in the Asian circuit. They have come a long way in the last few years and their presence in the continental circuit is now more noticeable.
Indian skipper Sunil Chettri is now on a list that boasts the names of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for most goals scored for a country by an active players. The mercurial striker is at 80 goals and is currently tied with Lionel Messi at the second place in the goalscorers list among active footballers at the International level, with Cristiano Ronaldo leading on 115 goals. Sunil Chhetri received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, the highest award for a sportsman in India.
In the qualification round for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, India finished third in their group. The under-23 team performed well in qualification for the 2022 Asian Championships in October, finishing above Oman and Kyrgyzstan.
Gokulam Kerala FC became the first team to represent Indian football at the women’s stage after qualifying for the AFC Asian Club Championship while Goa FC became the first side to participate in the group stage of the AFC Champions League and represent India at the prestigious competition.
INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE IMPACT ON INDIAN FOOTBALL
There is no doubt about the Indian Super League’s contribution towards the growth of Indian Football. In 2019, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) gave the Indian Super League (ISL) the same status as the I-League. The league has since accommodated the heavyweights like SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan FC from the I-League.
The league has brought in a lot of money, glamour, and standards to the circuit of Indian Football. The ISL has boasted the names of European players like Helder Postiga, Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires, Capdevilla, and many more.
ISL teams are laying the groundwork for a successful future. A lot of work is being done by the ISL clubs to nurture young talent at the grassroots level and unearth talented players in a populous country like India. Indian Football looks well on its course to compete with the likes of Japan, Korea, and Iraq soon. The Men and Women in Blue keep marching forward.
Follow our Twitter for regular football updates and news.