India has been for long touted a ‘sleeping giant’ of international football, but that may be on the verge of changing if reports emanating from the Central Government is to be believed.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the BRICS conference, a summit of the leaders from the emerging superpowers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa an idea was mooted to hold a international football tournament, exclusively comprising of the teams from BRICS nations, of which India would be hosts to the maiden edition of the proposed championship.
“The BRICS nations want India to host the inaugural tournament. The issue is whether we have a team good enough to compete against the likes of Brazil and Russia at the senior level. So we are contemplating making it an Under-17 or Under-19 tournament,” elucidated Kushal Das, general secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) to The Times Of India.
"We are considering the proposal in all seriousness. We are looking at the possibility of holding it next year,“ added Das, with the Brazilian Ambassador already establishing contact with the AIFF on this matter.
Meanwhile, in a sad bit of news Das has revealed the Nehru Cup will not be staged this year as the tournament requires heavy capital investment in the form of sponsorship, which the AIFF cannot pursue at this moment in time. “There will be no Nehru Cup because there's no sponsor for the tournament. It requires about Rs 5-6 crore to stage it. We managed to host it on our own the last time (in 2012) but we don't have resources to continue it,“ lamented Das.
Also in the news is the visit of FC Viktoria Plzen, the Czech Gambrinus Liga who finished second last year, will be visiting Goa, particularly Sporting clube de Goa’s training facility, in the week of January for a period of three weeks. As Das explains, “They are looking to play a few matches with I-League clubs. The Czech side's visit is part of an exchange program. The Indian team had a two-week training program and used Plzen's training facility.”