Yesterday, I stumbled upon the FIFA football world rankings while surfing through some news sites. Argentina went top of the list of the best of the world’s favourite sport. Brazil slipped up. France, Italy, England and all the major European giants remain in the Top 10.
I continued to scan the list and suddenly nostalgia crept upon me. India! Wow, 165th! That is something! , I wondered. But remember, there are only 207 registered FIFA countries. Cool, isn’t it? A country of 1 billion, and counting, can’t produce a competitive 11-man football team that at least qualifies for the Asia Cup, for a start. Sometimes, it hurts that cricket’s popularity is overriding everything else. The typical Indian man’s brain has restricted his thinking to only cricket and Bollywood.
It hurts, being a football fan. It hurts, because there are so many talented footballers in the country but no one makes a career out of it due to lack of opportunity. It hurts, because success in the world game will give India more worldwide recognition than cricket does. It hurts, period.
I am 20 years of age, and I know I am going to breathe my last in a maximum of 50-60 years. Probably, my only dream is to see the blue of India playing in a football World Cup.
Oh! What am I writing? Cricket’s showpiece event has just "kicked off". How can I even consider mentioning anything else, especially when India’s prodigal sport is being played in the Caribbean? Sorry to all other Indian sportsmen and women, who are winning recognition and merit in other sports. Your talent is unwanted, guys. It is not going to be recognised. Consider selling your gold medals and earning some hot cash from them, because if you can’t play or watch cricket, then you are not needed. Cheers.
PS: This was for Sania Mirza, Pankaj Advani, Abhinav Bindra, Saina Nehwal, Jeev Milkha Singh, Anju Bobby George, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Indian hockey team and of course, the 165th-ranked Indian football team…..