Tuesday, May 21, 2024

AIFF prez highlights India’s past misplaced priorities


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Chaubey calls for action against age-fudging

Kolkata, April 30: All India Football Federation President Kalyan Chaubey on Tuesday said that the country’s misplaced priority of focussing only on Olympics and Asian Games participation in the past may have led to “missing the bus” and current languishing near the bottom of world game.
India are currently on a downward spiral in FIFA rankings, triggered by their winless outing in the Asian Cup and followed by 1-2 loss to lower-ranked Afghanistan 1-2 in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
“From 1947-1960 India have qualified regularly for four Olympics and were the Asian powerhouse. So where did India fall behind? In early 1990’s too, when I played I remember seeing India below 90 in rankings,” Chaubey, a former India goalkeeper, said during the 50-year celebration of India’s triumph at the 1974 Asian Youth Championships.
“If India played in the World Cup (1950), they would have faced the top-ranked nations and would not have fallen behind,” Chaubey said.
Why India did not play in the 1950 World Cup despite making it to the tournament has been a controversial topic. But Chaubey said India’s priority at that time was on the Asian Games in Delhi (1951) where they won a gold medal.
“What I came to know is that we didn’t play because India were hosting Asian Games in Delhi in 1951. They did not want travel three months by ship and didn’t give importance to World Cup.
“We may have missed the bus because of the focus only on Asian Games and Olympics from 1950-74.” He claimed that World Cups were not popular in those days and it was only after seeing Diego Maradona in 1986, India got attracted to the quadrennial football showpiece.
“If I am not wrong it’s only after seeing Maradona on television in 1986, the World Cup became popular. By then the golden period of 1970s was over and it slipped out of prime time and we missed the bus,” said Chaubey.
“It’s like missing the first lap in a 400-m race. We maybe running fast but the others are ahead by one lap (100m) in a 400m race.” The AIFF chief admitted that the country will have to make extra effort to catch up the other countries.
“So we have to give extra effort to make up for it. There is no overnight magic formula. It’s a big country, and there is a lot of room for improvement,” Chaubey said.
He said the key was to stop age-fudging by raising awareness and embracing new technology.
“First have to stop the menace of overage. We have to stop age-fudging it may be through science or by raising awareness. We have to educate others. There is also a TW3 medical test which can be made mandatory.
“We have about 2.29 lakh male, 27000 female players in AIFF central Registration System. If a player is registered and we make him go through the test, he or she will come under the radar forever,” he added. (PTI)


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