India to drop out of Top 100 in FIFA rankings after Asian Cup 2019 debacle
Indian football team are expected to drop out of the Top 100 in the latest FIFA rankings after their Asian Cup 2019 debacle. The Blue Tigers could be ranked 103 in the next update of FIFA rankings, which the highest governing body of football in the world should release after 27th January.
Moreover, India will also drop out of the top 16 in the AFC rankings. This would result in India being placed in Pot 3 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (AFC). Although the draw is expected to be conducted on April, if India doesn't play friendly matches against higher-ranked nations before that, their scenario wouldn't improve.
As one can see, countries like Jordan, Vietnam, and Palestine have pipped the Blue Tigers, rendering former national team coach Stephen Constantine's plans of surging India's rankings by playing friendlies against weaker opponents futile.
As of this writing, the position of head coach of the senior national team is vacant, with Derrick Pereira the favorite to lead India as the interim head coach in the 2020 AFC U-23 Championships Qualifiers.
Before the draw for the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers starts in April, India can boost their rankings by playing friendlies in March. FIFA has reserved all the dates from 18 March to 26 March for their member associations to play international friendlies. So, if India decides to play friendly matches in those dates, parent clubs cannot refuse to release their players.
However, they have also changed their ranking methodology. As a result, India cannot get away by playing against lower-ranked nations like Nepal and Bhutan. They have to compete against countries ranked higher than them or just below them to climb the rankings ladder.
India started their 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign on a high note, thrashing Thailand 4-1 in their opening group stage encounter. However, they failed to carry on the momentum and lost 2-0 and 1-0 to UAE and Bahrain respectively to bow out of the continental extravaganza. As a result, their continental sojourn ended sourly and now, they have to wait for four more years to achieve their dream of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Asian Cup.Published 25 Jan 2019, 21:39 IST