India, the country with the second-largest population has somewhat failed to produce football stars except a very few. This fact is quite surprising considering the fact that people in India are very passionate about football. But it seems things are finally gonna change for the better.
The advent of Indian Super League in 2013 has paved the course for professional football in India. It has attracted various footballers from around the globe to come and play in India. The hype surrounding ISL is enormous. Many more youngsters have taken to football, dreaming about playing in the ISL with international stars.
Former India captain Baichung Bhutia also shares the same view about ISL helping to build Indian football. He said during a live chat with Sportskeeda: “It [ISL] has definitely contributed to the growth of Indian football. A tournament like ISL is good because we get to watch Indian players every week and they are getting coached by some of the best coaches in good infrastructure at their clubs.”
“They get to compete with a lot of good foreign players and that has definitely helped the Indian team. They are tactically more aware of the shape they are playing in and their tactical positions. They are more confident whenever they go to play against a foreign country.”
Indian football is taken steps in the right direction. India hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. The Indian youngsters got a massive opportunity to play in the World Cup stage with football stars like Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Baichung Bhutia is optimistic that India can one day play in the FIFA World Cup. He said: “You never know. Nothing is impossible. If North Korea can play in the World Cup, it’s not entirely impossible for a country like India to play in the World Cup.”
“You are not gonna play the World Cup just by sitting, a footballing culture needs to be cultivated in India. The younger parents are now concerned about their kids playing sports and the coronavirus can change people’s attitudes towards maintaining health, staying fit and playing sports.”
Sunil Chhetri, the current face of Indian football is getting older day by day. So, Bhutia has chosen Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as the ones who could lead India in the future.
Baichung Bhutia would also love to be the president of AIFF one day in order to take India football to new heights. He told: “I would love to be the president of the All India Football Federation one day. In future, if there is an opportunity, I will consider it but I am not ready right now.”
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