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India can play in FIFA World Cup Finals in another 15 to 20 years’ time: AIFF President

India can play in FIFA World Cup Finals in another 15 to 20 years’ time: AIFF President

Chaubey is hopeful that India can reach the top level in football, not immediately, but it's going to be a long-term plan which the AIFF is going to be working on in the months and years ahead which he is hopeful that will take them to the summit.

By Armstrong Vaz

Doha (Qatar): If you are a football fan from India and was hoping the world’s second most populous country could make it to the FIFA World Cup Finals soon, then hold your breath. You will have to wait for another 15 to 20 years for it to become a reality if one goes by the words of All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Kalyan Chaubey.

The former goalkeeper, who took charge as AIFF chief is quite hopeful that India can reach the top level in football, not immediately, but it's going to be a long-term plan which the AIFF is going to be working on in the months and years ahead which he is hopeful that will take them to the summit.

“We just need to come together, we need to bring together people who are involved with football, we need to ask and present our plan to our honorable Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) that this is the way and this is the way forward and this is the road map if we can follow let's say next 15 years next 12 years next 20 years I think India can do well and present in World Cup,” Chaubey said while on short trip to Qatar.

“I think India has huge potential to participate uh FIFA World Cup and uh we need to work hard with a long-term plan I'm sure when Asian countries Japan Korea Saudi Iran they are they have done extremely well this world cup and India's confidence level also has gone high that if the other Asian countries can do so can India do so

“I believe that India has that potential India can do it and that's how we have to work hard and we are working on a road map and what needs to be done so that India can play in World Cup,” added Chaubey, who graduated from Tata Football Academy played professional football for some of the top clubs in Kolkotta, Mumbai, Punjab before retiring in 2010.

He expressed the need to work hard to work on scientific lines and take help of modern technology and set a long term strategic plan keeping the World Cup goal in mind.

“We have to work hard we have to find ways that how we can you know take the advantage of sports science infrastructure development ah the modern football training and strategic partner and also the fitness planning, thereafter I think Indian national team can also represent in FIFA World Cup I think it should not be impossible task to think of,” he added.

Chaubey said India is proved in different field that it a leader and he does not see any reason the country can made strides and emerge as a football playing nation at the international level.

“Our honorable prime minister Narendra Modi ji has taken India into World Forum, G20, Climate Change, Renewable Energy, India is fifth largest Economic Powerhouse, so if India can perform under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi so well why can't football can be also under his leadership so I think India can do well and be present in the World Cup.”


Chaubey, who assumed office as AIFF President on September 2 this year, agreed that football passion and fan following runs high among people in India especially in the domestic competitions and regretted that Indian team has not be carry forward the fans aspirations forward in international competitions.

“We know how football is popular back in India I mean if you if you play any state level Santosh trophy championship at the matches between Kerala vs Maharashtra, Goa vs Bengal you see around nearly 80,000 to 100 000 people they are watching match, you play Durand Cup in Manipur you will find 35 to 40, 000 people watching match. It's a sad part that India football as an Indian team is not representing overseas but domestic football is very popular in in our country,” who played for both Mohan Bagan and East Bengal as well as now defunct clubs JCT of Punjab and Mumbai based Mahindra United, besides Goa’s Salgaocar SC.

Incidentally at the Qatar World Cup India fans were the second highest who came to watch the football showpiece event with Saudi Arabia topping the list.

“It is good that it is documented now that in Qatar World Cup the second largest football fans were from India,” he said in response to another question.

Chaubey and other office bearers of AIFF who were in Qatar met a delegation of Saudi Arabian Football Federation and discussed with them issues concerning football in the region and the long term ties between the two countries and also had a brief meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Incidentally the AIFF and Saudi Arabia Football Federation have come up with an agreement where the Santosh Trophy championship, the state level senior championships semi-final and final will be held in Saudi Arabia, which is a first in the history of the 71-year old tournament. Last year Kerala won the championship defeating West Bengal while earlier two years the event could not take place due to Covid19.

Prior to his assumption to the office saw Indian football pass through one of the darkest phase when it was banned by FIFA on August 15, the ban was subsequently lifted on August 26 after FIFA received confirmation that the mandate of the Committee of Administrators that was set up to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated.







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