India as a footballing nation: Vision 2050

A country of 1.2 billion people and the GDP worth 2073.54 billion US dollars, India is still not a strong force on the global footballing stage. The last 15 years have seen a sudden and strong increase in the younger generation change their focus from cricket to football. The viewership of the English Premier League in India is massive at this point in time, with the German Bundesliga and the Spanish La Liga not far behind.

The Indian Super League has quickly gained popularity in the three years that it has been there with global superstars like Diego Forlan, Roberto Carlos, Gianluca Zambrotta, John Arne Riise, Marco Materazzi and Zico being some of the famous coaches and players.

The story of 11-year-old slum boy Chandan Nayak reaching the prestigious Bayern Munich Football Club in Germany to train as an academy player is an inspiration to all young football aspirants in the country. At present with European giants like Paris-Saint Germain, Liverpool, Barcelona and Arsenal opening up football academies in India proves that the opportunities are certain to increase for the country’s youth.

The U-17 BRICS Cup saw India go head to head against the mighty Brazilians and although the match ended in a 3-1 defeat for the Indian Team, there were a lot of positives to gain. The young team showed great character to equalize in the first half and it was clear that the future of Indian football is in good hands.

India is all set to host the U-17 Fifa World Cup in 2017. Goa, Kochi and Navi Mumbai have been given the nod to host matches for this prestigious tournament. Indian Sports Minister Vijay Goel recently said that the aim is to train 11 million children in football before the World Cup next year. Being given the opportunity to host the competition is a huge boost for the development of the sport in India. It would ensure developments in infrastructure and more awareness regarding the sport.

With the current all-round boom, the future for the sport does look bright.