Sunday, August 1, 2010
Forgotten Indian Football Association ( FIFA)
In case you missed the month long madness in South Africa, you’d have to chance it four years later in Brazil. Sixteen years back, when an apartheid torn South Africa, were wielding ways to emerge from the despair, it would have required a magnanimous effort to wash the wrong doings. For those of the Mandela era would have been absolutely proud to watch the universal sport decorate its wonderful continent. As in any pre-event drama, FIFA were cautious of the preparedness of South Africa and its ability to provide ample security to the delegation. Though there were a few blips outside the arena, the security was top class. Over the few years, South Africa has fast emerged as world’s sporting and entertainment corridor. If anything, this event was grand and immense in many aspects and truly lived to its expectations.
Watching the action, mostly from home, one thought kept running in mind; when would India ever play in a FIFA World cup, will it ever happen in my life time?
It's a thought that would have poked every football follower's mind in the country, with a strange feeling of pessimism given the current scenario. It’s a felling of deprivation by our own people. The motive and aspirations of the administrators of this game in our country needs to be seriously questioned as focus on improvement has never been a priority. As I see, it , there are two things that could define the success of Indian football, i.e., quick restructuring of our age old club system to modern terms and increased participation of Indian footballers in clubs outside India ,especially in Asia. I say Asia, because Europe is way ahead. It's an irony that the world's third oldest football tournament is played in India, which is an indication of an existing legacy. But these are mere facts of the past, if the present is ordinary and there is no future road map.
Recent visits by the Uruguayan world cup star Diego Forlan, former Brazilian Romario and other chiefs of Barclays Premier league and coaching staff of Manchester City, suggest that the outside world is also keen to see emergence of Indian football. Sports has nothing to do with GDP growth and economic boom, as there are many nations with a lesser GDP than that of India's who have performed at the WC.
As I continue to express my thoughts, the organizers and conductors of the Commonwealth Games, with their bureaucratic and babus attitude have justified my feelings. It’s a sad story, but this is what needs to end. Sports organization run by Government officials is the same as giving a steering to a bullock cart driver. It's useless, unless he is aware of the driving rules.
Parents of middle and upper middle class children, who, in the past , were reluctant of their child pursuing a sporting carrier, are now gradually showing signs of changing mindsets, where they now feel that time spent under the sun is worthy enough to have a good future and a sound financial security. It’s the children of these parents who need to be provided with the requisite funds and support, without any profit motives. One of the finest examples, where football has cured social problems, is Central Africa. A continent prone to epidemics and violence has been given new lease of life by football. It’s the promise shown by these Africans that made FIFA pump the funds. Indian football will have to carve out a similar promise, as the talent is very much there. A country with a billion population, can surely generate11 great footballers.
Let’s all try our bit to bring in the necessary awareness of football and make the souls of the great Neville De’Souza, Chunni Goswami and PK Banerjee proud.