While the FIFA World Cup 2010 was intoxicating the whole world it was a touch amusing to see India (a country where most people would not know who is the captain of the Indian national football team) showing ferocious and passionate support for their favourite teams and their favourite players. Even the odd timings of most of matches (kick off at midnight 00:00) were not a deterrent for the vehement supporters.
It makes one wonder – why does not a complete 90 minutes Indian football match generate the same enthusiasm among Indians as a transient run towards the goal from David Villa? What makes us feel deflated when Messi missed a goal but the embarrassing low world ranking of the Indian Football team (132 / 208) does even not make us blink an eyelid?
When one tries to analyse the questions above it brings a few interesting things to the fore front –
- It is almost a modern axiom – Football is a a passionate a game that no country can keep itself aloof from it. Hence .It comes as no surprise that same is the case with India. Another modern axiom is – Quality thrives. Hence it also should come as no surprise that since Indian football is not able to provide quality, the fans have naturally spread their interests beyond borders where quality is supreme.
- Another adage is – Too much pain brings apathy. Fans in India have been disappointed so many times that now they have closed their minds on Indian Football.
- Another fact to be noted is – Every country needs heroes. If it cannot find one it will invent one. In the case of India, a scarcity of national stars has made us search beyond for inspiration.
As abysmal as the situation may seem, all is not lost. If we can bring back the quality in football (or for that matter in other Indian sports). We have inspirational players like Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Cherti in our team. All we need to bring back quality is funds and management. But funds only flow in when there is market for the sports and market is ensured only by consistent quality. This viscous circle needs to be broken.
One innovative solution could be to use cricket’s immortal popularity to push up other sports.
- Imagine a sports championship between India-Pakistan or India-Australia where you have 9 matches
- to revive the emotional bonding for other sports – something which has been lost due to apathy.
This model and other innovations like this would definitely bring alive the passion in India football (and other sports like hockey etc).It will gradually help to improve India’s virtually unknown status in world sports to a one of respect an pride..
There is light at the end of the tunnel but we need to move towards the end of the tunnel.