The India men's football team fell by one place to 109th in the FIFA Rankings released by the apex world football body on Thursday. This recent development does not come as a surprise as it has been almost a year since India has played an international fixture.
Having not played a single game in 2020, the calendar year of 2019 was a washout for the Blue Tigers.
From the 13 matches played across different competitions coupled with friendly fixtures, Igor Stimac's men have managed just two wins with seven losses and four draws.
India football in transition
2019 also witnessed the Indian men's team go through significant change, with Stephen Constantine stepping down as head coach.
This was Constantine's second stint as coach of India, previously serving in the position from 2002-2005. Having taken over the reigns of the team once again in 2015, the Englishman led the side to new heights including a fantastic 2017 where the team went unbeaten in the calendar year.
Constantine stepped down following a 1-0 defeat to Bahrain in the final group encounter of the AFC Asian Cup, which also led to India being ousted from the tournament, and was replaced by Croatian Igor Stimac.
So far, it has been anything but smooth sailing for Stimac as he finds himself under an immense amount of pressure, having won just the solitary encounter against Thailand in June 2019.
Despite all of this however, Stimac can find solace in the fact that he has been handed the reigns of a team in transition.
Among the current crop of ageing players in the squad is India skipper Sunil Chhetri. At 36, the Bengaluru FC striker still possesses passion and tenacity to score, but might not have the fitness he once did.
However, India's recent outings have been encouraging. Despite adverse results against the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, the performances have been worthy of praise.
With no football having been played in 2020, there is a certain expectation in the air as Stimac and his men take the field to play the second leg of fixtures of the World Cup Qualifiers. This is something that would allow them the opportunity to better their world ranking.Published 17 Sep 2020, 16:27 IST