“Giant leap of faith for Indian football” – Praful Patel
Slow and steady wins the race. Very true in the context of India and Indian football. Gradually elevating itself on FIFA World ranking now India has reached to the 96th rank. Not bad. This is the country’s second-best ranking — its previous best was the 94th position in February 1996
The ranking of our country has moved four places up to the 96th position in the FIFA World ranking released on Thursday. This is the country’s second-best ranking — its previous best was the 94th position in February 1996.
Though India undoubtedly is an Asian sports power football always has been a tough sport for it. Our country had been ranked 100th in the previous list released on June 1, has won two matches since the last list was published. This is also a huge confidence boost for the current squad which has moved 77 positions up from the 173rd rank on March 2015.
Though India in the last couple of years has performed remarkably. The Indian football team had beaten Nepal 2-0 in an international friendly on June 6 at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai. A week later, the team, led by Sunil Chettri, had scored a 1-0 victory against the Kyrgyz Republic at their home ground in Bangalore in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. The Indian team had also scored two away-wins against Myanmar and Cambodia earlier in March. All India Football Federation president Praful Patel on Twitter termed this as a “giant leap of faith for Indian football”.
Our country has been averaging at the 134th rank since the creation of the world ranking system. Among Asian nations, Iran leads at No. 23, one ahead of Africa’s best, Egypt.
Germany, meanwhile, tops the rankings again after the 2014 World Cup winner clinched the Confederations Cup title on Sunday. The victory by a second-string squad lifted Germany up two places, while Brazil and Argentina fell to Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.
Portugal rose to No. 4 after its third-place finish in Russia while Switzerland climbed to No. 5 after beating the Faeroe Islands to extend its perfect record in World Cup qualifiers.
Poland rose to No. 6, above the Confederations Cup runner-up Chile. Colombia, France, and Belgium complete the top 10 though all fell three places.
Indian coach Constantine said: “When I took over, I had mentioned that my target was to bring India below 100. I am happy to have played a small part in this process. Kudos to the boys, the staff and a big thank you to my colleagues in AIFF for supporting us all throughout. I also need to thank Mr. Patel and Mr. Das for their trust in allowing me to do things in the manner I wanted.”
“But the present FIFA spot doesn’t mean that we have achieved much. We need to stay focused on the upcoming challenges.”
A qualification spot in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 is what the AIFF aims at this moment. That would be India’s second AFC Asian Cup stint in eight years, the last being in Doha in 2011. The power game called Football is not too far from Indian reach if we imagine the World Cup Football – the mega event happening in India within the next decade.