2012: Five positives in Indian football

A year full of ups and downs is coming to an end for Indian football. Goal.com has a look at its best moments...
 Ayush Srivastava
 Feature | India
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The year is coming to a close and year ending series’ are the norm of the day, as people cherish the good moments of the season and blast the bad ones. So how could one not be done on the state of Indian football?

Hence Goal.com makes a list of 5 most positive announcements related to the game in the country.

As expected, it took a long while to shortlist 5 moments, mainly because there were too few positives to make a list out of.

But eventually we did get there!

Bid for FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) egged on by FIFA, announced that they would make a bid to host the 2017 edition of the U-17 World Cup. With the government also backing the move, if the country succeeds in winning hosting rights, it could be just the change needed to kick-start the upward swing of Indian football. To hold such a tournament of repute, new facilities and infrastructure will be needed, which could then help improve grassroots football in the nation.

Nehru Cup triumph

The fact that none of the top sides like Syria and Cameroon sent their first teams, nor did the win against Cameroon help improve India’s FIFA rankings were of course dampner. However it should not take away from one of the most accomplished showing by India’s team in the recent past. The win helped heal the wounds cause by the AFC Challenge Cup disaster under Savio Medeira, and gave hope of improved performances in the future.

Brave showing by U-22 squad in AFC U-22 Asian Championship qualifiers

Coming shortly after the insipid showing at the AFC Challenge Cup, the colts showed their seniors how an important tournament should be approached. Under the tutelage of Arthur Papas, the youngsters confounded expectations by beating the likes of Turkmenistan and Lebanon while drawing against UAE.

In the end the effort was not enough to see them go through, but the boys definitely won the heart of the fans by showing the enthusiasm, courage and hunger that the senior team had been missing.

A 3-year broadcast deal for the I-League

After an almost no-show for the Federation Cup before DD Sports bailed out the AIFF for the knock-out rounds, there were serious concerns about the I-League being shown on television.

However it all ended well, as IMG-Reliance, the marketing and commercial partners of the AIFF, managed to rope in the Ten Network, and that too for a three year deal. Roping in I-Stream as online partners helped further boost coverage of the league.

Partnership with FIFA

While India’s authorities remained ignorant to it, FIFA realized the potential of Indian football and what a promising market it is for the game. Apart from providing artificial pitches under the “Win in India, with India” program, the global football body also egged India on to make a bid for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Jerome Valcke, the Secretary General of FIFA, also announced a ten-year pact with the AIFF, where it would assist the country with management, strategy and technical development for the future of Indian football.

The Frenchman also inaugrated the FIFA Development Office in India while Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran was appointed the FIFA Development Officer for South and Central Asia.

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