How can Indian Football Improve
India being the second most populated country in the world is well expected to develop 11 world class footballers,in which it has failed badly.In this article I am going to explore a few ways through which India can become a dominant force in International football.
1. Improvement at the grassroot levels
Right now India does not have youth teams under the age of 16,which is quite unusual for footballing nations.So the most important step to improve Indian football is the establishment of world class football academies with world class coaching staff.Apart from this we should also have good scouts who can find the talent hidden in the poor localities allover Indian and provide them with scholarships as they wont be able to afford the fees.Also big European clubs should also have their academies in India.But the question is how can this happen? As President Blatter said that India is a sleeping giant,now is the time for the sleeping giant to wake up and I think the thing that has been sleeping all this while has been the government or the governing body which surely has to wake up now and undertake plans to develop the game in the country.The government should invite world famous academies to open in India and give them 100% support.
2. Corporate Investment (or in easy words,MONEY).
Probably the most important thing that Indian football needs right now.Though Relience IMG has invested in football but they aren’t doing a good job.If Indian football gets a good investor,everything would change; the infrastructure would be improved,the academy issue would be solved and also AIFF would have enough money start advertising campaigns and attractive new tournaments.I know that saying and doing are two different things,but practically speaking enough money can change the face of Indian football.
3. Celebrity Endorsement Right now there are many celebrities who have expressed their love for football like Ranbir Kapoor,Abishek Bachchan,etc. But they haven’t shown much serious interest in improving the state of the game.For that the AIFF has to rope a big star as the brand ambassador of Indian Football but again,that would take a lot of money.Though Salman Khan was earlier made the ambassador but there weren’t any successful advertising campaigns done by the AIFF.
4. Improving the I League or establishing a completely new league. The I league right now is in serious bad state.Anybody hardly goes to watch the matches apart from a few die-hard fans of the game and that too mostly the Kolkata derby.What the AIFF can is to either improve its current state or establish a whole new league maybe like the IPL .But it shouldn’t be any thing like the I league,it shall have big sponsors,celebrity brand ambassadors and an attractive format and also corporate clubs. If it goes by the plan,it would attract foreign players and investors,which in itself would be a big boost for Indian Football. Though some people would not like this move, but the real truth is that it would really help in increasing the fan following of the game.
5. Foreign Exposure for the playersThis also is equally important as any other thing in the list.Foreign exposure can be done in many ways,like-International friendlies in Europe,Indian players playing for foreign clubs,etc.Apart from playing against European and other teams,one thing that we can do is have a training session with their coaching staff as it would help in improving the players a lot.Though it wouldn’t turn our players into Messis or Ronaldos,but it would surely have some impact on them, both physically and mentally.