Sunday, August 24, 2014

India v Pakistan: Poor Football, Great Atmosphere

The other day I was fortunate to be in Bangalore to host a group at the India v Pakistan friendly football match.  I was excited since it was the first time these two countries have competed in football since 2005 and Bangalore Football Stadium is one of the best venues to watch a live match.

The atmosphere around and inside of the stadium was certainly electric, especially for a Wednesday 3:30pm kick off.  Packed house, passionate supporters and the always appreciated Bengaluru FC fans singing songs throughout the match.  That's pretty much where the highlights stop.

I guess you can't expect much from a team ranked 150th in FIFA rankings (India) playing against a team ranked 164th (Pakistan), however given the amount of money which AIFF has put into India's training camp, I did expect some basic ball movement and given India's long standing hatred for Pakistan, I did expect some fight. I saw neither on that Wednesday afternoon.

It was 90 minutes of long balls, poor defence and childish behaviour. Sometimes it feels as though our national team is cursed with a lifetime of mediocrity. It just doesn't make sense to me: quality coach, some quality players, quality investment in training, quality exposure trip to Czech Republic equals mediocrity on the pitch. The equation baffles me.

Things will get better. I remember back in the 80s and 90s when I used to attend US National Team matches in Southern California and a few hundred of us would continually watch our country's best lose to minnows like Barbados and Bermuda. They certainly did in the US and they will in India and it will happen at a much quicker pace than it did in the states




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