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Why is India not a football playing nation despite huge population?

Cricket is a preferred sport in India and parents do not encourage their children to take football as a career and it only remains as a pastime.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Football in India: Why can’t India create an international level football team of eleven players, when the total population of the country is way over a billion? The question has intrigued many sports pundits across the world and there are many reason behind this fact. There was a time when in Calcutta there were a lot of people who followed football teams like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, but there was limited popularity for football in other parts of the country. And this is a reason why players had fewer opportunities from regional football clubs to achieve name and fame. There might be many extraordinary football players out there but they were not popular among the masses. On the other hand, cricket players are not treated any less than celebrities.

The Indian government union budget assigns little money for sports, which makes it tough for a the players to achieve a living through games like football. On the other hand, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is an autonomous body and one of the richest cricket control boards in the world. Cricket is a preferred sport in India and parents do not encourage their children to take football as a career and it only remains as a pastime. The same goes for other sports. We had very less information about Mary Kom, PV Sindhu, and Neeraj Chopra until they did something huge in their respective games.

Upliftment and promotion of the game
Cricket is a well-known game throughout the country. There are many tournaments organised for this game. Almost everyone in the country knows the rules and knows how to play it. But in the case of football and other games people have less or no knowledge about how to play them. It is important to teach children from a very young age about football and other games so that they could be aware, build interest and represent the country in these games other than cricket.

Very few people know that in 2019, Riyan Parag became the second Assam player after Abu Nechim in North east who represented India at U-19 football world cup. Football also needs an organisation which could work better than the BCCI to make the game popular in the country and provide better facilities to the players. There are limited regions like Kerala, Kolkata, Goa and Northeast part of India which play football for a very long time and have some known players. All India Football federation (AIFF) not only Failed to raise the standard of sports but also failed to access the untapped market of potential emerging states.