How to improve soccer in India?, Football has been reportedly being played in India since at least 1949 and was also the national sport at one point in time but despite the humongous success the sport garnered under the tutelage of Syed Abdul Rahim during the period from 1951-1962, also known as “The Golden Era of Indian Football”, this global sport has not made it’s marked on the modern Indian audience.
The reason behind which can probably be the underdevelopment of the sport at the basic level itself. It can be safely said that soccer in India will improve if some definitive steps are taken to improve the basic infrastructure of football, if there is more foreign exposure and some obvious media promotion since it has always been in the backdrop, some media exposure will definitely have a marked impact on the audience. This article will further elaborate on all the above-stated points.
How to improve soccer in India?
The Indian audience has always looked at football as more of an “American” or some sort of a foreign sport forgetting that they do have a great history attached to it and that India has been home to some of the oldest football clubs in the world and the third world’s oldest competition, the Durand Cup.
There has been leagues like The Indian Soccer League(ISL) which has been a welcoming change for the Indian audience because the Indian audience has always passionately followed different football clubs from all over Europe and are generally very well aware of the happenings of the international football but don’t pay any heed to the Indian football. The ISL, however, has helped changed that outlook towards football and there is comparatively a much larger number of the audience now showing interest.
Another perspective that has to be taken into account is the lack of infrastructure for football, India only has a handful of proper football stadiums compared to the other countries, moreover, the lack of proper coaching apparatus also adds to the cause. The level of infrastructure, with the exception of a few sporting venues such as the Salt lake stadium and J.L.N. stadium, remains barely up to date when compared to the other disciplines such as cricket. Along with the sporting equipment, the training methods are also primitive. Improving these aspects is basically trying to develop the sport from the grassroots level, which should definitely have positive outcomes.
Another reason, why it is not as famous as other sports is the lack of media attention, we barely see any football star featuring in advertisements or movies which give an impression that it is not as successful a sport as maybe say, cricket. The ISL, as was said above did garner some media attention but again it was still on a comparatively smaller scale when compared to IPLs. What needs to bring into focus again is that the Indian audience is more inclined towards cricket when it comes to sports, probably because it has a rigid foundation called the BCCI, and a strong foundation is what is needed to go a long way.
The problems are far too many and deep-rooted if one must say, the lack of youth participation, coach education, foreign exposure, technical know-how, talent identification, career support add to India’s poor stature in World Football but the good thing is that all these problems can be tackled and ISL has been a major step in the development of the sport, it has brought with itself the much needed attention and has the people talking about football hoping that it does not become one of the mere corporate businesses while keeping the mainstream football under shadows.
Yes, the condition of the sport in India at the present time is not praiseworthy but if the sport is developed at the grassroots level and if the forces pulling it down are tackled and handled effectively, India will definitely see a noticeable growth in the field of football as well, if the youth is encouraged more to take it up as a serious sport, and if the talent is given the right amount of support then why not, we’ll soon see Indian football rise again to glory, just like it has risen before.