Boys in blue: Their maiden entry in a FIFA World Cup raises hopes for Indian football
Our under-17 team created history on Friday when it became the first ever Indian football team to participate in any FIFA World Cup. India went down fighting 3-0 against USA in the opening game and the team can hold its head high for putting up a brave performance. Of course 46,000 odd enthusiastic spectators gave their full support to the boys in blue despite USA easily being the better of the two teams. The team led by skipper Amarjit Singh Kiyam has made a good start in the tournament. They should maintain momentum as they face another tough opponent, Colombia, at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium today.
India defended well initially. But inexperience showed towards the end of the first half when Jitendra Singh tripped Josh Sargent resulting in a penalty for USA. Sargent coolly slotted the ball home proving why Bundesliga side Werder Bremen have already signed him from next year when he turns 18. In the end, India did have some positives with goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem’s heroics and the likes of Komal Thatal and Ninthoinganba Meetei grabbing eyeballs with their attacking play.
A reduced catchment area for budding footballers is reflected in the current under-17 team, dominated by players from Manipur. But the launches of Indian Super League in 2014 and Premier Futsal last year have helped in reviving popularity and bringing more professionalism into the sport across the country. A sustained and inspired performance by the boys in blue will act as a catalyst for more grassroots programmes, better infrastructure and investment in the sport. The team has two more games in Group A – against Colombia and twice champions Ghana – to help unlock the true potential of Indian football. For More - https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/boys-in-blue-their-maiden-entry-in-a-fifa-world-cup-raises-hopes-for-indian-football/