India and the rest of the world

Former Indian player Sabir Pasha strongly believes that the U-17 World Cup to be in held in India in 2017 will change the face of Indian football.

July 06, 2014 05:36 pm | Updated 05:36 pm IST

Syed Sabir Pasha

Syed Sabir Pasha

Football is a very popular game, and the World Cup more so. It’s great to see the following for the sport in India. Every country likes to be No.1 in the world. The football fans in India want the country to do well, and that is not happening now. But India is pushing its way up. It’s not going to be easy. If you see, cricket and hockey are played by a limited number of countries. Whereas football is played by around 250 countries and every country is taking the sport very seriously. In that scenario, it will be difficult for India. But I should say that India is on the right track. 

The U-17 World Cup to be in held in India in 2017 will, I strongly believe, change the face of Indian football. This is the first time India is hosting (and taking part) in a World Cup. It will definitely increase the interest of the sport in the country. Many people are looking forward to it.

India has taken part in Olympics before and has even won two gold medals in the Asian Games. But now we are way below in the FIFA rankings. The downfall is because of infrastructural issues and this remains to be addressed. Many other countries have taken up this sport and taken it to a whole new level altogether. They have devised long-term plans and implemented them. The system was changed systematically and their rise is for all to see. India is trying to change, and it will have to. 

The positive part in this gloomy scenario is that a lot of academies have come up and several grassroot and youth development programmes are coming up too. The Asian and European countries have gone far ahead of us. How quickly we can catch up with them remains our biggest challenge.

As told to K. Keerthivasan

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