Indian Football Team of U-20 category stunned the most successful world cup team of U-20 category, ARGENTINA, by 2-1 at the COTIF Cup in Spain. While on the same day, the U-16 Indian football team defeated the Asian champions Iraq by 1-0 in Jordan at the West Asian Football Federation Championship. Both events happened on Sunday, 5th of August 2018. Yes, this is nothing short of a fairy tale for all Indians but it is a reality now. We are rising as a footballing nation, have no doubts, Period.
Indian Football Team – No more stopping
For the boys, it’s nothing short of a dream. You would be surprized to learn that India was 1 man down to 10 for 40 minutes in the match. This was the final group stage match of the Cotif cup, a biennial tournament for international youth teams. If you consider any age group, this is by far India’s sweetest win in terms of quality of opponent.
The U-20 team pulled off a miraculous victory and U-16 Indian football team was not behind either. With a great finish by Bhuvenesh, the team toppled the Asian U-16 champions IRAQ on the same evening by 1-0. It was a day of feast for all Indian football fans.
Anwar Ali and Deepak Tangri came out as stars for the U20 Team. Netting a free kick like that could easily put Anwar Ali among the best in the business. Nobody in the crowd of 3500 would’ve expected freekick from the 35 yards to be converted into a goal.
Indian coach Floyd Pinto was floored by the Indian football team’s performance as they overcame the challenge of 6-times U-20 world champions. He said “This victory will definitely earn Indian Football more respect in the world of football. It opens up a window of opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the World on a regular basis”
India beat Argentina in football… Yes u heard it right…😃
Indian U-20 Football team beats giant of the game Arg-U20 by 2-1…🙌🙌🙌
— Mr. 360' ™G (@Mr_360Abd) August 6, 2018
The victory is unbelievable. The efforts of All India Football Federation to invest in developing country’s youth is giving results. This reinforces the belief that given the right exposure and support, we can topple the best teams in the world.
“The one thing missing from our continued development through this tournament were goals. I am happy the boys adapted so quickly and effectively to the changes we made post our first gamer. I just couldn’t have asked for a better reaction,” the U-20 India coach said.
The wishes came pouring in from all across the world.
Indian football is showing the world what we're made up of! I'm extremely happy to know that India beat Argentina 2-1 in the U20 league, and India also beat Iraq 1-0 in the U16 league! Congratulations @IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/Eg7rX9mUWq
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) August 6, 2018
“The bench was understandably ecstatic yet calm as there was a lot of football yet to be played. Deepak Tangri’s goal was one of a sheer determination while Anwar Ali’s free-kick was of the highest order. We wanted to put in a performance that would make people forget about our previous game against Venezuela U-20 and the boys managed to do that.” The Indian Coach said.
Future of Indian Football
India is currently ranked 97th in the world and could not qualify for 2018 Fifa World cup. In Asia, our rank is 14th and many good teams like Jordan, Bahrain, Korea DPR, Yemen, Thailand etc. are presently behind us in the ranking. The major growth of Indian Football has happened in the last 3 years and we need to keep this momentum going.
Key players of the future
- Dheeraj Singh, Goal Keeper, the 17-year-old young goalkeeper who plays for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League. After his heroics in the U-17 world cup, have already got trial offers from European clubs like West Ham and Charlton FC
- Anirudh Thapa, Mid-Fielder, 20-year-old has already made appearances for the Blue Tigers and is part of the Chennaiyin FC in the Indian super league and a reason for its triumph in the league
- Udanta Singh, Right Winger, 21-year-old nicknamed as “Flash” is apparently the quickest on the football fields in India, plays for Bengaluru FC and also a part of Blue Tigers with more than 10 appearances
- Lalruatthara, Defender, 23-year-old played in the I-league with Aizawl FC and played a crucial role in winning the trophy and now he plays for Kerela Blasters in ISL. He has already earned the international cap
- Lallianzuala Chhangte, Forward, 20-year-old is one to look out for as he left everybody in the awe while playing for Delhi Dynamos in Indian Super League. He has got amazing dribbling ability and already scoring international goals for India.
The March for the future
Certainly, having a long-term vision of qualifying for the Fifa World cup 2026 could drive the efforts in one direction. The U-16, U-20 and U-23 teams are needed to be groomed thoroughly to make it a reality. Continous exposure with the European and South American international teams will definitely lead us to higher grounds.
Besides that, the major stakeholders changing the map of Indian football like AIFF, Star Sports, IMG -Reliance should come together. Most importantly, they should work for a united vision of growing football in the country. ISL is falling short of viewership numbers but this is a major league which will give a boost to the future of Indian Football. With a conflict of interest in I-League and ISL, the sports ministry needs to solve the differences and align the leagues of India for the larger good of Indian football, even if it means merging the two leagues.
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