PANAJI: Argentina, in the opinion of Olympians S.S. Narayan and Fortunato Franco and AIFF Player of the Decade (1985-95) Brahmanand Shankawalkar, is the firm favourite to win the FIFA World Cup 2010 to be held in South Africa next month.

However, the trio's contention was contested by former Indian striker, Bruno Countinho, at the World Cup seminar held here on Friday night, in connection with the 34 {+t} {+h} National convention of the Sports Journalists' Federation of India (SJFI). According to the Goan player, Spain had the better chance to come up front among the 32 teams in the fray in football's showpiece event.

Among players there was, however, unanimity among all the four panelists, with England's Wayne Rooney, Argentina's Lionel Messi, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba being identified as those who could be the potential stars of the tournament.

Possiblities of upsets through the first two rounds was also explored by the panellists.

Passion for the game and country would also be very much in evidence right from the start.

Precisely, this was what the current Indian players lacked, though having the best of opportunities and adequate exposure when compared to their predecessors. It also explains best why Indian football was left languishing at the bottom of the FIFA rankings, the panellists suggested.

A change for the better could happen only if there was a complete overhaul of the football system in the country.

This should also include the administration, they said in almost unison. — Special Correspondent

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