Every World Cup sees Indian football fans picking different countries to support. This is very sad, right? Having such a large fan base and no National team to support; what can be done though? How can India qualify for the next World Cup?
1. Setting up of youth academies:
The next World Cup where India could play is to be held in 2022. This is a huge time period of 6 years. Setting up youth academies all over the country would not only increase awareness about football but also give talented youngsters the proper direction to realize their true potential. Several such football prodigies have been identified as a result of the Indian Super League.
Though hope has been rekindled for the future of football in India because of the ISL and the advent of big European Football Clubs into the scene, investments by the Government are still negligible. This is mostly because cricket has such a huge fan following in India that other sports don’t really get much attention. This needs to change if we want our National team in the FIFA World Cup.
3. Focus on Asian Tournaments:
We need to employ a step by step approach. Since India needs to play against Asian teams to actually qualify for the World Cup, all Asian tournaments should be taken very seriously and tours should be organized for the same. Increasing the number of friendlies played would also make the team more familiar with the level of football that is expected off them.
4. More passion from the fans:
The craze that football enjoys all over the world is simply not seen in India. Even very avid fans don’t really want to follow Indian football that closely. This is clear from the fact that even at the Indian Super League, half the stadiums are empty. How can we expect our players to do well when we ourselves give a halfhearted effort at supporting them?
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Worse comes to worse and none of this works, India could always bid to host the FIFA World Cup; host nations have a guaranteed slot in the FIFA World Cup Finals and that might be the only way India gets to play. However, if we actually want to see our team do well on the international platform, we really need to apply the aforementioned steps.