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How #FanBannaPadega is essential for the growth of Indian Football 

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Published 24 Oct 2018, 17:22 IST
24 Oct 2018, 17:22 IST

When the Indian Football Star pleaded to the country for support
When the Indian Football Star pleaded to the country for support

Indian football has been on a rise in recent times with India surprising everyone’s expectations with their consistent performances. The popularity of the sport has also increased with the advent of the Indian Super League. The Indian Super League has not only helped India unearth talent but also brought the game closer to its fans with football becoming the third most popular sport in the country.

India being a cricket loving country, now has people who wish to go to the stadiums and watch the electrifying football games. The domestic matches in tournaments like the I-League have also witnessed a tremendous increase in the attendance for the matches. India has come a long way going up from their ranking earlier which was 173 to their current ranking of 97 in the FIFA ranking which speaks volumes of their performances over time.

Recently, the India Under-20 football team beat Argentina by 2-1 in the COTIF Tournament on the 6th of August, 2018. With these performances India which was only recognized as a country which featured in cricket, Kabaddi and Hockey have now found a new name in the world of Football.

The Indians who are often called the Sleeping Giants in Football have been performing really well in the Under 16 ranks as well where they’ve defeated teams like Iran, Jordan and also reached a new high after qualifying for the quarterfinals of the recently concluded Under-16 AFC Asia Cup 2018. The senior team also has made everyone proud with their performances. The sport which was witnessed by people mostly staying in West Bengal, North East, Goa, and Kerala was one which had reached everyone with the growing media coverage.

Recently the All India Football Federation also started a new tournament in the form of the Indian Super Cup which would comprise of 16 teams of both the Indian Super League and the I-League. The tournament witnessed a great crowd with two of the oldest clubs of the I League, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal reaching the semi-finals along with Bengaluru FC and FC Goa.

The finals saw East Bengal and Bengaluru FC taking on each other where Bengaluru prevailed to win the first Hero Super Cup by 4 – 1. A few of the reasons leading to the monumental rise of Indian football are as follows:

FIFA Under-17 World Cup, 2017

India hosted the FIFA U-17 for the first time in 2017
India hosted the FIFA U-17 for the first time in 2017

The Under 17 World Cup was the first ever FIFA tournament hosted by India. The tournament witnessed huge crowds with the attendance crossing 1.3 million. This edition of the Under 17 World Cup was also the most ever attended tournament since its inception.

The Indian team was placed with the likes of USA, Ghana, and Colombia in Group A. The first match the Indian team played was against the USA at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi. The young lads put up a spirited performance against the mighty US side going down 3 – 0 at the end of the game.


India’s second game was one every Indian will remember as India scored its first ever goal in any FIFA tournament. The goal came as an equalizer through Jeakson Singh in the 82nd minute after Columbia took the lead in the 49th minute of the game. The header from Jeakson Singh got the crowd berserk as no one could believe what just happened. The happiness was short-lived as Columbia got back into the lead the very next minute. The game ended 2 – 1 in favour of Columbia. 

Coming from their brilliant display against Columbia, India faced Ghana in their final game of the World Cup. In the game against Ghana, it turned out to be a one-sided affair as Ghana beat India 4 – 0 with 3 second-half goals to bring the Indian dream to a hold.

The young Indian side received a brilliant response from the crowd and would be looking to continue their performance so that the next time they feature in the World Cup it isn’t by automatic qualification but through their performances.

The star for the Indian was their goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh. He captured the attention of many foreign clubs and was also called for the trials with a Scottish Premiership Club, Motherwell FC. His agility and reflex kept the dream alive for the Indians in the World Cup. 

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Modified 20 Dec 2019, 19:25 IST
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