FIFA World Cup 2022 started in Qatar on November 20 (Editorial on football). Will continue until December 18. Football fever has already gripped Kolkata. Every game of the World Cup is being shown on TV, Internet. Brazil or Argentina flags are flying in the neighborhood. In many places the walls are also decorated in the colors of the World Cup. On the occasion of the opening of the World Cup on Sunday, lanterns were flown in the metropolis.
Kolkata is known as the mecca of football across the country. This frenzy about the World Cup is normal there.
The district has also kept pace with the city. There is also a Brazil-Argentina split in World Cup attendance. Not only West Bengal, Kerala and other states are also feeling the heat of the FIFA World Cup. A lot of money has been transacted to show the game on TV channels. Media is getting crores worth of advertisements. Amidst all this, one question keeps coming back and forth. Why is India not in the World Cup? And how long will our visitors talk about the game of other countries?
A total of 32 teams have participated in this year’s World Cup. Among them are Moroccan and Tunisian teams. Both countries are extremely poor. Morocco’s population is only 3.7 million. The population of Tunisia is 121 million. Out of them they can produce 11 players of international quality. But why can’t we find 11 footballers who can play World Cup in a population of about 140 crores?
There is no dearth of passion for football in India. But the condition of Indian football team at the international level is very pathetic. In 2022, India is ranked 106th in the FIFA ranking.
But our situation was not always so bad. In 1948, Indian footballers performed barefoot at the London Olympics. The Indian team qualified to play in the 1950 FIFA World Cup.
But playing barefoot is not allowed in the World Cup. So the Indian team could not play.
There may have been other reasons for Sebas not playing in India’s World Cup. The country had just become independent. The government has to arrange the resettlement of millions of refugees. The child state is plagued with many other problems. In that situation, the country’s leaders probably did not want to send the Indian team to the World Cup by spending a huge amount of money. But then Indian footballers were eligible to play at the international level. Even earlier in 1911, the Mohun Bagan team that won the IFA Shield by defeating the Sahebs, its footballers were probably of international quality. Even in the 1960s, the glory of Indian football remained to some extent. In 1962 Jakarta Asiad our country won gold in football. Chuni Goswami was the captain. PK Banerjee, Jarnail Singh, Tulsidas Balaram, Arumoy Nigam and others were in the team.
Indian football has a golden past. But after the 60s, we gradually fell behind. International football has already come a long way. It is important to find out why.
India has repeatedly topped the international cricket map since the eighties. In recent times our players have been getting international honors in athletics as well. That is, our athletes do not lack physical ability. But what is the reason why Indians are so behind in football skills?
Even in the subjugated period, our footballers have demonstrated the skills, why can’t they do it in free countries?
It is important to find the answer to this question. Moreover, lessons should be learned from successful countries in world football. Potential players need to be found from every part of the country. They should be given special training from a young age. Perhaps then our country will be saved from the shame of not being placed in the World Cup.