BBC Special: When will the Emperor of Cricket India get own Messi-Ronaldo?


The world’s population is a bit higher than 7.6 billion. A total of 736 players are participating in the 2018 Football World Cup. And in them the number of Indian players is zero.

There is a debate on whether to reach India’s soccer World Cup. But what is the reason why India can not prepare World Cup-worthy players? How are world-class players produced and whether India will ever be able to do that?

There is a lot to do to become a professional football player. Apart from physical and mental work, strategic skills are also important. After being excited for the best coaching, world-class facilities and sweating of thousands of hours, a professional footballer becomes a player.

Sepp Blatter, former president of FIFA, had once said that India is a sleeping lion of the soccer world. There has also been remarkable improvement in the ranking of Indian male football teams in the last four years. In the year 2014, the Indian team was 170th in the world, now at number 97. Indian Super League (ISL), I-league and Youth League are playing important role in the promotion of football in India.

But is that enough? How much more will India have to wait to see their team in the World Cup?

Tried to know the answer by talking to soccer experts.

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Physical needs for soccer

The Pele football square of Bangalore where the ball of Brazil is in color
In football, the player has to perform small movements at very fast speed. For this, every player needs physical strength, stemina, strong legs, footwork, ability to quickly change direction, speed, running fast and stop, physical balance etc. These physical abilities are important for success in the field of football.

Running is the most important part of football and some players race for 14.5 kilometers until the match ends, and many times they catch up to 35 kilometers per hour on the field. There is more need for running in soccer than in other games.

Dr. Vijay Subramaniam, who works with international players, says, “In football, you need some special physical abilities, strong back, stomach and groin are important, it is important to have strong muscles to kill the ball quickly. ”

“There is no fixed height for the players,” he says, “If a player’s age is small then he can do well with the ball. Long players can run well and can strike the air.”


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Star players of Argentina and Barcelona are a good example of the fabulous dribble of small sticks.

Vijay says, just like Messi, many South American players are small and the low of the Center of Gravity helps them dribble the ball.

“In the last few years, Indian players have improved in terms of physical fitness, not just in football but in the rest of the game as well.”

“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most fit players in the world, he jumps and leaps like that becomes difficult for the security team, and he is a strong player in the field who is difficult to face.”

Do the strength of the length and muscles play a decisive role in international football? Says Savio, executive technical director of the Indian Football Federation, “Good length is helpful for the player of the guard team, but in reality, physical strength and strategic skills are more important than player’s length or strength of the masters.”
An artisan creates the artwork of Messi and Maradona on the wall in Siliguri, West Bengal.
Psychological force

Says Sawiyo, “People generally think that there is a basic physical power in Indian players and players of Western countries. But I think Indian players tend to lag behind in technical efficiency and strategic skills.”

“Football is played not only in the field but also in the brain,” says Ashish Pendse, executive editor of Viva Football magazine who has been a national level football player. “For any player, strong genetics is very important. Players are lagging behind but can be overcome by improving strategic skills. In the soccer players, there should be a natural ability to form a team’s strategy, apart from making the place, answering the attack, and also many other strategic skills. ”

Many experts believe that physical strength is not of any use in soccer without mental strength, and this difference is made between ordinary club players and world-class professional players.

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When should children start soccer?

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Nawi Kapadia, sports journalist and football expert, says, “Many families in India feel that to become a professional player, coaching should begin at the age of five or six of seven years, but this is just a concept, No results can come out. ”

Kapadia says that children should be sent to the field till 12-13 years of age. At that time his qualifications can be easily tested and considering the game, his right decision can be taken.

But Sawiyo’s opinion is different. He says, “To compete with players from other European and Asian countries, we have to start from a young age, which will help the children to develop decision-making ability and strategic understanding.”

Infrastructure and Coaching
According to Pendse, the important things of a football like ball control, dribbling, running with the ball and other strategies can teach a good coach. Unfortunately India has been backward in this case and it is very much needed for better coaches.

Pendse says, “Recently there was a Youth Cup in India in which many countries took part. There were seven people from the technical team with the American team, who were doing the calculations related to the team, but with the Indian team There was no video or data analyst, these are general and original things that are available in other countries but India does not have it. ”
Children playing soccer on the road in Kerala
Pendse says, “The Indian team gets less chance of playing better players, for example, if India plays with a country like Belgium, then gradually the level of football in India will increase, but India will be like Belgium. Why will you play with a low ranked team? ”

Finding better grounds and competitions for players in India is also challenging.

Kapadia says, “There is no competition in soccer in India.” Under-17, there are eight players from the North-Eastern states and the remaining two or three are from other provinces. So how can we say that the whole of India is playing soccer In the 60s-70s there were many football stadiums that have gradually changed into cricket stadiums. ”

Good coaches are bringing change in the world of soccer. Sawiyo says, “India’s domestic teams need good coaches because only good coaches can produce good players.”

Former Indian football player Prakash believes that India needs to develop a team of good coaches. He says, “Until a decade ago youngsters struggled to get good coaches, compared to the situation now things have improved.”

10 thousand hours practice
Many players and coaches believe in the ten thousand hours practice practice. It is believed that a ten thousand hours practice can be made as a better player. But many experts believe that these principles do not apply to all players and it is different for every player.

Players such as Beckham and Ronaldo have sweated sweat in practice. They have been practicing hours to get the skills like free kick and strike on the ball.

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Regardless, the Indian team is only getting some success with the delay, but the question still remains that whether India can produce a talent like Messi or Ronaldo?

Sawiyo says, “If football culture is developed in India, then a star player will be born by itself, then this question will probably not be necessary.”

“Messi Ronaldo is just a name, India has also given great players like Baichung Bhutia, IM Vijayan, Peter Thangraj, and remember Sunil Chhetri, Messi and Ronaldo in their club’s star power and in their countries. There are so many names due to the craving for football. ”

Pendse says, “The players like Neymar, Messi, Maradona have definitely taken the game to new heights, they create passion in the youth, but such players like Sunil Chhetri, Baichung Bhutia and IM Vijayan are also their kind of heroes. ”

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Is the trend changing in India?

On the appeal of Indian captain Sunil Chhetri recently, Indian fans bought tickets and reached the stadium to watch the match.
Says Sawiyo, “ISL has shown to the whole world that not only cricket but also football is being played in India. There is a lot to be done for Indian clubs to develop their youth teams.”

Pendse says that slowly, the situation is getting better with football in India right now.

He says, “We did not have infrastructure in the 1990s but now it has become necessary to play in Youth team to reach senior level. Today there are thirty chief academies in India and there are so many senior teams from whom 1500-2000 Footballers are growing. ”

Sawiyo says, “India has sports culture, but there is no soccer culture yet, once the football culture is developed, there will be no need to look back.”

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