India lost its second match of the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier to Guam, a team placed 33 ranks below them. The lost 1-2, the identical scoreline against Oman the other day in Bengaluru. [India lose 1-2 to low placed Guam]
The loss, as usual sparked fans' anger on the social media, with people even saying India's Russia dream (the 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia) is over. Some made it more political, asking whether a tiny state like Guam isn't scared of 1.1 billion people and a prime minister with a 56-inch chest?
Has our self-esteem been hurt because of this loss? In that case, we should be very clear about our position in world football. If we take great pleasure when a Cameroon beat Maradona's Argentina at the World Cup, thinking it to be the huge upset, we should also ready our mindset when India lose to Guam.
Nationalism is a negative force but when used in sports, it generates positive energy. In our case, nationalism is sports also breeds negativity. This is a disappointing sign and perhaps explains why we are still nowhere to be seen in the world of fiercely competitive sports.
We didn't lose to Guam because we had less skills
We didn't lose to Guam because we had less skills. We lost because we are yet to integrate ourselves with the way in which modern-day football runs. We lack exposure and with that, the physical fitness. We say that we are a football-loving country but do we really care about raising our football standards at the international stage?
No point in just blaming the officials
Many people have been seen bashing the AIFF and its top officials. It doesn't make any sense. The government can't take care of our footballing prowess. And a lot of countries are playing the World Cup even with non-players and bureaucrats at their helm. Then how are they succeeding? In India, cricket is a successful game but never had the Indian government needed to interfere in its running to make sure it won titles. Then why does football need government patronage?
We are too lazy to play tough sports
We, Indians, are lazy to play tough sports. We flex more muscles in the television commercials than in the field and with such an approach, even if we can get away with cricket for it requires less physical connect, but it is impossible to replicate the same in sports like football and hockey. Blood-boiling commercials can't make us beat opponents in a football field. It requires more hard work.
Our experts know how Messi should play but are clueless about how we should play
But are we really ready to work hard? Our loyalty seems to be very narrow, to some regional clubs, than the country as a whole. We are neither eager to promote talents despite the money and policies in place. Even in cricket, we struggle nowadays in the toughest format of the game which is Test and find the Tamasha of T20 more suitable.
For a country that loves the shortcut, hoping to reach the venues of World Cup football or in the top 5 of Olympics Games is near about day-dreaming.