The growth of Indian football has been on the rise in recent times, this is due to the constant grassroots development that the country has seen. Now that All India Football Federation (AIFF) chief Praful Patel is appointed as the senior vice-president of Asian Football Confederation (AFC), having also served as the vice-president of the South East Region for the AFC, Indian football will certainly have the required exposure to survive and thrive amongst rivals. But the credit for the recent surge should definitely go to Indian national football team head coach Stephen Constantine who has engineered tactics that have helped India climb up the ladder in the FIFA rankings. Constantine tweeted yesterday stating, “A brilliant way to end the year well done to everyone connected with the Indian National Team.”
India ended 2015 being ranked 166th in the FIFA rankings, considering how elite India is when it comes to cricket, one would be shocked to learn India’s condition in the world’s most followed sport. But things have drastically changed in the ongoing year, as India are ending 2016 in the 135th position, the nation has successfully up climbed 31 spots. This is actually India’s highest annual ranking in six years after 2009 when India had finished the year in the 134th place. Winning the South Asian Football Federation Championship (SAFF Cup) also helped India improve their world ranking, the 2-1 victory against neighbouring Afghanistan saw them lift their 7th SAFF title.
“It can’t be achieved without the help of the Players. We have an exceptional batch of Players as we are in the process of building the team for the future,” Constantine told AIFF’s official website. Indian football is lucky to have someone like Stephen at its helm, it is because he puts emphasis on teamwork, he likes to work out tactics not depending on the style of his opponent teams but rather on the strengths of his side. This has also helped India develop a team spirit.
Constantine is not new to Indian culture and tradition, he was the head coach of the Blue Tigers between 2002 and 2005, so when India was interviewing candidates early last year, AIFF decided to hire Stephen knowing he is someone who would instantaneously gel in with players, and staff. Although India endured a difficult World Cup 2018 qualifiers campaign, still the growth and development in football are there for everyone to witness. With the emergence of the Indian Super League, Indian youngsters are sure to get the chance they deserve to make it big someday, in addition to the presence of the I-League, clubs are busy training and preparing for the future that now looks promising.