From playing barefoot football to being ranked 96 in the current FIFA world rankings, the “Indian Football” has come a long way in the game played by more than 200 countries. To be precise, the growth has been immense for Indian football team. Ranked 173rd in March 2015 when Coach Stephen Constantine took over his second stint, Team India has moved up a whopping 77 positions in a span of just two years. Thanks to the coach for building such a young, strong and talented side within a short span. The rankings are no fluke since the team has produced some wonderful results, consistently. The players have also been Bang on target netting some wonderful goals; throughout led by Captain Sunil Chettri, the team combined well and gave their best on the field.
The ISL impact
Though India had the National league earlier, and the so called I-League from 2007, it failed to satisfy many of the objectives, be it the Standard of football played, viewership, revenue, stadium attendance. There was no improvement in the quality of the game played by the Indian National Team or in their FIFA Rankings. Then the Indian Super League (ISL), a joint initiative by the IMG-Reliance and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) happened in 2014. It has really transformed the Indian Football and has put the country on the World map. People started noticing India’s rise after the advent of the Indian super league. It has attracted many legends that were at the far end of their careers. The presence of players like Marco Matterazzi, Robet Pires, David James, Diego Forlan, Luis Garcia and Roberto Carlos has given the league a special attention from all around the world which was missing in the Indian Football for a long time. The result of which was a surge in the Game standard, Rankings, Revenue, Stadium Attendance, Viewership. The Indian football fans were deprived of a quality footballing action for a long time and the ISL provided them a perfect solution. Through these years, many successful ISL players have gone on to represent the Indian National Team after impressing the coach Stephen Constantine through their exceptional performances. The ISL players form the core of the current National squad and the results are obvious to speak about. The ISL has been the backbone of India’s surge in Football in recent years, without doubt.
The Future ahead
With the core group of players being young, talented, passionate and energetic, there is a bright future ahead for India, for sure. From here on, opportunities of success will be many, as players have the scope to play abroad in Europe, South America, East and Central Asia. The ISL should continue to nurture young talents and contribute to the National team’s success. With the signs looking good, I don’t think it will take a long time for us to hear the Indian National Anthem in FIFA World cup. #JaiHind!!!
Article by Garima