Indian Football Round-up: The Best and Worst Moments of 2018
The year 2018 was an eventful one for Indian football fans. The previous year saw India host the FIFA U-17 World Cup and the senior team securing their spot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. That apart, Stephen Constantine's side broke into the top 100 of the FIFA rankings for the first time in 21 years and were unbeaten in 13 consecutive matches.
While 2017 was an excellent year for Indian football, this year had a mix of the good and the bad moments. From Gourav Mukhi's age fiasco to Sunil Chhetri overtaking Lionel Messi in the list of highest active goalscorers, it was a topsy-turvy season of football.
We have divided the proceedings of 2018 into two categories. The 'Best' section focusses on all the positives developments pertaining to Indian football. On the contrary, the 'Worst' section emphasizes all the negative matters in Indian football.
Without any further ado, here is the 'Best and Worst' of Indian football in 2018.
#6 Worst: IOA doesn't let India participate in the 2018 Asian Games
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) took a bold decision by announcing that the Indian football team will not participate in the 2018 Asian Games. The governing body for Olympic sports in the country passed the judgment on the sole basis that the Blue Tigers wasn't ranked among the top eight in Asia and considered it a waste of money to bear their expenses.
AIFF President Praful Patel had written multiple letters to the authorities concerned but they decided to stick to their original perception and didn't give the team the required clearance.
#6 Best: A team from Kashmir in the I-League
Unlike the ISL, where teams from only a fixed 10 cities are allowed to participate, the I-League's doors are open for every nook and corner in India. To do so, a team from that region needs to win the I-League second division and get their stadium cleared from the I-League authorities.
Scottish-born David Robertson achieved the same with his Real Kashmir side on May 30 when they topped the final round by defeating Hindustan FC 3-2 in the last match.
As a result, football fans from the valley could watch India's top flight football live, with local players like Danish Farooq representing them. More than 10,000 people attended Real Kashmir's first home match against Churchill Brothers SC, which ended in an entertaining 0-0 draw.