You might have heard stories on how India wasn’t allowed to play football in 1950. Apparently because they didn’t have appropriate footwear? Turns out, that is not exactly what happened. The 1950’s were the era when India did wonders in the field of sports. We bagged the Gold in Asian Games and even qualified for FIFA. Happiness knew no bounds among football enthusiasts all around the country. Sadly though the AIFF ( All India Football Federation) withdrew India from the World Cup. The federation cited reasons like travel costs to Brazil and lack of practice being among them. Though India had finished 4th in Summer Olympics in 1956, the then Captain Sailen Manna stated that they weren’t prepared. Thus India became the first country to qualify but never participate in a Football World Cup.
When India won bidding rights in 2013 for hosting the U-17 Football World Cup in 2017, naturally, people went bonkers. Football fans danced around awaited their turn to experience a football World Cup in front of their very eyes. The year 2017 marked the dream come true for a thousand, rather a million Indians. Stadium tickets sold out within minutes! The tournament marks India being the first Asian country to host the FIFA World Cup. The matches are being played among six host cities around the country with finals being held in Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata, West Bengal.
Twenty three teams besides India have qualified for the tournament. Top two teams from each group will proceed to the knockout stage where three rounds of play will decide which teams will go to the finals. Ironically, the champions of Nigeria will not have the opportunity to defend their title since they failed to qualify this season. The Official FIFA emblem and Official FIFA song this season capture the essence of India, its culture, the iconic Asoka Chakra alongside the beauty of the country in its entirety. The Indian Team from AFC (Asia) confederation is also known as Indian Colts, Blue Cubs. Under the guidance of Coach Luís Norton de Matos this team is known for its quick wing play and long balls.
The Indian Team for FIFA World Cup:
The odds have been against India making it into the finals. However, with the biggest opportunity available, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) ensured that the team got adequate practice, before the first dress rehearsal. Although the results are far from expected, the team were last on their group and in a must win against giants Iran lost by 0-3. We still say, this is only just the beginning. Sure, India has a long long way in being a world-class team, no matter what we’ll back our country up. And hey, this has only just begun.