IN A tournament, reserved for the backbenchers in international football, the Indian team seems determined to jump on the downward spiral by putting up pathetic showing against teams much lower in rankings. The ongoing SAFF football championship has seen one of the worst Indian performances as they were held to draws by a 10-man Bangladesh and later by a lowly-ranked Sri Lanka.
Both results reflect badly on the structure of Indian football where the way ahead is nobody’s concern. The poor show is set to cost national coach Igor Stimac dearly, if one goes by the way Indian soccer finds scapegoats, but that won’t serve any purpose. The regression of the national team, playing at its full strength, is reflective of the lack of long-term strategy. Unlike the BCCI or the Hockey India, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) is still caught in muddled thinking with no definite strategy for the future. It has thrown up the Indian Super League (ISL) as a mark of its progressive thinking which again shows how a myopic thought can bring downfall of a great dream. No effort seems on cards to take the game across the landscape of the country. Without nurseries, there won’t be a bloom.