Life in India

India’s World Cups of Woes – Part 1: Football in India?

Not Indians.

Please be noting: Below post does not apply to Cricket. Thank You.

We Indians have this strange habit of asking the same question over and over again, especially so when we already know its answer. (Doubt? Watch some of the ‘expert panel debates’ on any news channel). Despite being well-answered, we ask these anyway and then answer them ourselves  to satisfy our ego and to look ‘intellectual’ and awesome (read: douchebag).

One of those questions is about India’s World Cup of Woes. Whenever we have some International India-less sports event (read Olympics, Football World Cups and so on) we hear the same cry repeated over and over again by self styled sports pundits, armchair footballers, glitterati elite, Rediff ‘commentators’ and about anyone else. Said lamentation expressed in mathematical terms:

“Why can’t a country with 1.X billion people produce Y number of people to play Z game to international standards?”

In this equation, X keeps on increasing, and Y is directly related to Z, which can be Football (Soccer), Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball, Handball, Throwball, Athletics… Basically any sport that is not Cricket. Also, “Why can’t India with so many people win medals at the Olympics??” What a #FAIL.

Of course, the question has been asked and answered gazillion times. And everyone knows the answer, which is almost always a series of blames as given below: (Note: Please add ‘Blame it on’ before each line). But people still keep on asking

1. Politicans (Of Course)

2. Cricket (Sponsors of the national football team had to rely on cricketers for their ad.) 

3. Fitness (If we are going to play against Germany,  keep a fleet of Ambulances ready)

4. Infrastructure (Sporting Infrastructure, includes jerseys, equipment & kits) 

5. Media (Oh yes, they MUST have to do something about this also)

6. Corporate Sponsors (They want only money. As if the rest of us dont) 

7. No Sporting Culture (Cant be helped coz we are all born Einsteins)

8. The Government, be it Left, Right or Center. (All us armchair commentators know better how to run the country, dont we?)

9. Bureaucracy (Another perennial favorite for everything that goes wrong)

10. Globalization, the Bourgeouis, USA and Israel, Multinational Corporations (Applicable only in Kerala and Bengal)

It often feels like all problems India face can be summerized in the above 10 points. We Indians totally HAVE to blame everyone for everything other than ourselves. For us blaming is what Fish is to a Bengali. Hope one day people will stop asking questions they know the answer to.  Please dont ask no more!

Anyways on a more serious (ugh) note, Why India cannot make it to international competitve sports for something other than cricket really are:

Cricket: India cannot think beyond cricket. Nope, cannot.  And of course, it will be made sure that we will not be watching anything else. No La Liga telecast in India? ‘Minority’ football fans like me are ostracized everywhere.

Physical Fitness: The Kakas, Drogbas and Robbens will look like monsters alongside our puny players. How many of them will last 90 minutes of getting kicked at on the field? I mean, the game demands holy shit levels of physical fitness! Which we dont have. Sorry.

Sports as a Career. All world class players start early. And in sports like Football, when they are like, 6 or 7. And hours of fitness training EVERY DAY. They are grown by the clubs. We dont have those cubs, and we cant think of anything beyond becoming Software Engineers, Getting into IITs and IIMs and then writing books about our loser lives, if not Green Cards. Its true: becoming a sports person does not guarantee any life here. Period.

$$$$$$ – Of course, as we cant think beyond crisp Gandhis, anything or anybody that cant bring in the dough is considered totally worthless. Where is the ad revenue in Football? Nope. Unless they start thinking about “DLF Maximum Goal”, “ICICI (late payment) Penalty”, “Romanov Red Cards”, “Cadbury’s Goal Scoring Celebrations”, “Bose Vuvuzelas”, Football playing Zoozoos and so on. Till then no one will be interested in promoting the game. As simple as that. No matter how many are the eyeballs.

Political Interest – Please refer above point. It all comes to that.

Sadly, the only thing that is NOT lacking is Talent.

Bottom line: we shouldnt expect to see our ‘Men in Blue’ storming an Argentinian goalfront anytime soon, WorldCup or no WorldCup. Oh, and the whole thing of India missing the 1950 World Cup because we were playing barefoot, is just a sort of an Urban Legend. The reason was, you guessed it: Political and Bureaucratic apathy.

Oh and no one much notices the silver lining in the fact that the state of our national teams is sorrier than that of an ice cube in Chennai during summer. We have the libery to pick, choose and support ANY team or country that WE want! Brazil, Argentinia, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Italy, Germany, France, North Korea, Slovenia.. Tell me, how many people in the world have such a privilege?? Isnt this true Democracy???

Well looks like the answer to the question everyone knows the answer to has been provided? Thank you.

Well, let us all enjoy the World Cup and root for our favorite teams, then go on to the EPL, la Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga etc. Oh and in case Barkha Dutt pops up and shoves a microphone in your face asking: “So India is not playing in the WorldCup. Why and how do you feel about that?”, you now know what to answer.

Just in case you are wondering, our “Football Men in Blue!”

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Mohammed Ibrahim

All these reasons can only satisfy a small population of the country. India being one of the most populated country of the world, how can we say that there isnt enough talent or fit people. It is real foolishness. It is just because we dont try for it. Thats it.

If they challenge me to bring enough players to the team, I am sure that I will be able to find great players in our country.


I agree, as I mentioned the only thing that is NOT lacking is talent. The problem is ‘They’ are not interested. ‘We’ dont try because we all want to become working professionals.


Very well written and some valid points in there.
What is lacking is a proper approach towards sports in our country, infrastructure is one big thing. I mean just imagine if our government schools had the proper facilities and stadiums to train our genext, cant we awaken from our slumber? This is exactly what the Chinese did. They first concentrated on their infrastructure and on games which needed minimum infrastructure. Here in India, which government school has proper Badminton coaching facilities atleast. In my opinion (like you mentioned the age of 6-7 years) is the time for picking up these talents, and thats only possible if we have a systematic planned approach towards sports. Which I’m sure the moment sumbody proposes it, we have another Parliament walkout over some another scandal. India desperately needs change. Films that portray this alone wont help.


Thank you! Good one, especially the bit about the films :) and training too. Problem is everything is still under government control. We should let go. Look what happened to Aviation, Telecom and IT where there was no government control? But they wont do that since politicians know theri pockets wont fill.


(Disclaimer: I used to read links like the following in comments threads and scoff at the blatant touting of one’s websites. Hope this doesn’t come off as that )

Good stuff. As one of the editors of Sportskeeda, I’d like to read more of the same about sports from you. If you feel the inclination, you can start here:

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