The Indian men’s football team is currently placed at the 109th position, according to international soccer governing body FIFA. From November 2019 to July 2020, amidst the pandemic, the team’s rank had remained unchanged, as per the latest news from Indian football. India has a total of 1187 points and has neither gained or lost a point since July.
Change of plans
India’s remaining matches in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint qualification matches in Group E were originally to be held in March 2020. With the Covid-19 flaring up during the same time, the matches were unfortunately postponed to the year 2021. Prior to this, India was to host Qatar on October 8 and go to Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the next month.
Both Portugal and Spain have gained one place in their rankings, at 5th and 7th places, respectively. Belgium, France, Brazil, and England are at the top of the chart in the same order. Other countries that have gained a position in rankings include Italy (12th), the Netherlands (13th), as well as Germany (14th). Russia, which had hosted the previous FIFA World Cup, is at 32nd position. However, after its victories over Hungary (52nd) and Serbia (31st), it gained a mammoth 6 points. Qatar, the host for the 2020 FIFA World Cup is ranked at the 55th position.
India has a Croatian football coach
Since his appointment in May this year, ex-Croatian football player and current coach Igor Stimac has been moving forward in the right direction, leading to positive news from Indian football. He is clear that his job is not to nurture the country’s players but to use his style of football to derive success. After India’s 1-1 draw with Syria in the Intercontinental Cup, this is what he had to say, “I read some comments that the coach should be nurturing these players. As I see football, that’s absolutely wrong. When you give orders to players, they follow. Nurturing is for academy football. This is not academy football and I am not an academy coach.”
Ever since his appointment, the Croatian has led the Indian men’s football team to one win and a draw in five matches within the King’s Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. His first draw came with 18 year old Narender Gehlot’s maiden goal. He has summed up his vision for India’s footballers in the following statement, “I was not brought here to give just few wins and losses and be nowhere in the middle of somewhere. It’s easy to play against certain teams below the range and get the wins. But to feel better as a team it takes time, courage and passion. I warned the nation… this way we choose to play we will need a lot of sacrifice and suffering. That is how these young talented kids will grow”.
More goal scorers needed
After the last match of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers with Oman, Igor pointed out India’s need for more potential goal scorers. He believes that though the team is fighting hard, it needs more accuracy.