In a country like India, barring cricket, all other sports are much underrated. Be it hockey, football, tennis, and so on. Blame it on the lack of investment in these sports, or the lack of interest among people, but these sports do not get the kind of attention that cricket does.
The credit of introducing football in India goes to the British soldiers, who brought the game to the country in the mid nineteenth century. The result was that football became hugely popular among the people and numerous football clubs like Mohun Bagan, Sovabazar Club, etc. were set up in Calcutta.
After the success of Mohun Bagan Club, many other football clubs came into being over the rest of the country. Soon, the national football team was also formed. It was quite successful until the 1970s, winning worldwide tournaments and bringing much fame to the country.
However, the post 1970s period saw a major downturn for Indian football. After a glorious phase of remaining among the top Asian football teams, the state of football deteriorated due to several reasons.
The availability of proper infrastructure and the performance of football players is dependent on each other. Ample support to players in terms of proper grounds, sponsorship and funds helps them improve their skills in the game, which in turn would mean more recognition to the team or the country. What lacks in this regard is that the Government shows least interest when it comes to the development of lesser popular sports. Instead of setting aside a piece of land for ‘practicing football’, the Government should build proper stadiums and hire expert and technically skilled trainers.
Another important thing that is necessary for the successful development of football in India is the right attitude in the minds of the people. Football players, who take up this sport professionally, pass on the blame of their incompetence to the lack of support from others. Often it is their family and peers who think football as a profession will not help them in making money, and they should look for other options. There are very few players in the real sense of the term, and who have the necessary passion for the game.
However, of late, things have begun to improve for the game. FIFA has undertaken to develop the game and drive it towards a better tomorrow. Approval of new football fields projects, funding for infrastructure and encouraging players to take the sport seriously are some steps taken by the FIFA in this respect. Wannabe and current football players in India now definitely have something to be happy about! And we can hope for the best in future!