By Ankit Bisht |
Updated: Mar 08, 2021 15:00 IST
New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Despite being a cricket-loving nation, the enthusiasm for football is no less in India. There has been decent development in the infrastructure and grassroots level to encourage football in the country and with foreign league officials now talking about the growth and development of India’s football ecosystem, the rise is clear.
In an interaction with ANI, LaLiga India head Jose Antonio Cachaza spoke about Indian football and its progress in the last few years. He is very pleased with the number of efforts that have been made to popularise the sports in the country including the various domestic leagues — Indian Super League and I-League.
“I’m convinced that football will develop in India. It is just a matter of time but it will. You have big stars, you have Sunil Chhetri, you have Bhaichung Bhutia. Now, new players are coming in, you have old clubs which are mostly based in Bengal — ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal — but there are also new clubs that are developing the brand,” Cachaza told ANI.
Cachaza further mentioned that while steps are being taken in the right direction, it will take some time before India feature in the FIFA World Cup or any Indian player is seen in the LaLiga.
“India still has to grow and I say it from my heart that India is working in the right direction. You had your ways of work probably not same that other countries have. But the steps are in the right direction. I look at football at three levels — grassroots, professional leagues, and the national team. In these three levels, Indian football has improved a lot in the last 10 years. Don’t look that your national team is still far away from playing the World Cup. You look at how it is moving in the right direction. ‘When India will play World Cup?’, I don’t know. I think I will see an Indian race player playing in LaLiga but I don’t know when,” he said.
Asked about the reason behind football’s development in India in recent times, he replied, “I think the number one factor is that India itself is realising that football is important and growing Indian football is the way to connect to the overall sports ecosystem. It is India itself. India is betting on its football. The first element is India believing on itself and on its own football. Everything else comes on top of that and helps that to develop.” (ANI)