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Indian Football Team’s Asian Games 2023 hopes revived as IOA submits entry to organizers and fans show support

Indian Football Team is facing the disappointment of potentially missing out on the Asian Games 2023. The decision by the Government of India to only allow teams ranked 8th and above in their respective fields to participate has dealt a blow to the team’s aspirations. Despite this setback, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has taken a step forward by submitting the names of the men’s and women’s football teams for consideration.

The Indian Football Team had been riding high after their victories in the SAFF and the Intercontinental Cup, and their 17th ranking in the AFC had fueled hopes for a successful campaign in the Asian Games. The women’s team, ranked even higher at 10th, was equally enthusiastic about their prospects. However, the government’s order dashed their hopes, leaving fans urging the IOA to intervene and AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran making an appeal on their behalf.

Indian Footbsll Team via Official Twitter Indian Football Team's Asian Games 2023 hopes revived as IOA submits entry to organizers and fans show support
Indian Football Team via Official Twitter

The government’s guidelines stipulate that only sports ranking within the top 8 among participating Asian countries in the past year should be considered for participation in the Asian Games.

In a recent development, there is a glimmer of hope for the Indian football teams. The IOA has submitted the entries of the men’s and women’s football teams to the organizers, despite not meeting the selection requirements set by the sports ministry. Their participation in the Games now hinges on the government’s approval. The government has until July 26 to withdraw the entries submitted to the organizers, but this can only happen if it believes that the teams lack the potential to win medals or fail to meet the selection standards. After July 26, the entries become final, and a definitive list will be compiled.

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The Indian Football Team also faced a similar disappointment in the Asian Games 2018 when they were unable to send a contingent. At that time, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) had volunteered to fund the national team’s participation, but the IOA, under the presidency of Narinder Dhruv Batra, deemed the team unfit to compete for the gold medal.

Indian Womens Football Team via Olympics Official Website Indian Football Team's Asian Games 2023 hopes revived as IOA submits entry to organizers and fans show support
Indian Women’s Football Team via Olympics Official Website

However, the current situation offers a glimmer of hope for the football teams. Kalyan Chaubey, a prominent leader from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), holds positions of authority within both the AIFF and the IOA as the joint secretary and acting CEO. Chaubey’s influential position within the AIFF and IOA may enable him to exert his influence and potentially convince the administration to grant an exception, thereby permitting the participation of the football teams in the Asian Games.

A meeting held on Thursday between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Chaubey may have played a pivotal role in smoothing the path for the teams to compete in the Asian Games. The men’s football team competes in the U-23 category at the Games, where three players on the roster must be 23 or older. However, there is no age limit for the women’s team, providing them with greater flexibility in team selection.

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AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey with Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah via his Official Twitter Indian Football Team's Asian Games 2023 hopes revived as IOA submits entry to organizers and fans show support
AIFF President, Kalyan Chaubey with Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah via his Official Twitter

Read More: Indian Football Team will not participate in Asian Games 2023: Reasons behind this another setback for Indian Football

A Fight for Recognition: Fans Rally for Indian Football Team’s Inclusion in Asian Games

The announcement regarding the potential exclusion of the Indian Football Team from the Asian Games has sparked a wave of fury and sadness among fans, who have taken to social media to express their strong emotions. Leading up to the AFC Asian Cup 2023, fans have actively and passionately campaigned for the Blue Tigers to be given the opportunity to compete in the Asian Games.

Across various social media platforms, supporters of Indian football have been voicing their discontent, sharing heartfelt messages and petitions, and rallying behind the team. They have passionately argued that the team’s recent achievements, such as winning the SAFF Championship and the Intercontinental Cup, demonstrate their prowess and justify their inclusion in the Asian Games. Fans have also emphasized the team’s commendable ranking of 17th in the AFC, which further solidifies their claim to participate in the prestigious event.

Their lobbying efforts have been marked by a strong sense of unity and determination. Supporters have been actively engaging with football associations, influential figures, and media outlets to garner support for the cause. They firmly believe that the Indian Football Team deserves the opportunity to showcase their skills on the Asian stage, and they are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to make their voices heard.

Even the Head Coach of Indian Football Team has come forward on social media serving a humble appeal and sincere request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.

As the Asian Cup 2023 approaches, fans are hopeful that their collective efforts and impassioned appeals will resonate with decision-makers. They recognize the significance of this tournament and the immense pride it would bring to the nation if the Indian Football Team were allowed to compete. Fans are eagerly awaiting a positive response and are determined to keep pushing for their beloved Blue Tigers until the final decision is made.

Also Read: Sunil Chhetri: The Legend of Indian Football – Records and Milestones

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