After two decades, India features in the 100-best footballing nations in the World
Written by: Punit Tripathi
The National Team went one spot higher without playing a game in the FIFA rankings after rising to the 101 in April early this year. . .
The Indian Football team has breached into the top-100 in the FIFA World Rankings. Published on Thursday, the ranking bodes well for the Blue Tigers who have been on the upswing since 2015 and will look to capitulate on the interesting fixtures in the near future. The National Team is ranked 11th in Asia and is the pace-setter in South Asian football.
The Blue Tigers are set to play six more games this year barring the SAFF Championship, which includes friendlies against Lebanon and Palestine. India will face Kyrgyzstan, Macau and Myanmar in the AFC Asian Cup Championship qualifiers. These games can act as stepping stone for the South Asian heavyweight to rise further up in the rankings and stake their claim to be a better footballing nation than most people believe.
India's meteoric Rise in FIFA Rankings over the years
The National Team plays its next game on 07th June, a friendly against Lebanon. The Blue Tigers started their upswing in May 2015 when they were ranked 173. Earlier this year, the Blue Tigers had reached to 101, their highest in over the last 10 years. The National Team will look to consolidate and better the rankings to help their finest players ply their trade in the various European leagues which bar players under the National Team ranking system.
On this auspicious occasion, National team coach Stephen Constantine stated: “As long as we keep heading up the ladder I am happy. It points out that we are heading in the right direction. There are major matches ahead and we cannot take things lightly. There’s no place for complacency.”
SAFF Championships will provide India with the opportunity to rise higher up the table, as the team has already won it the maximum seven times. India, as hosts, had defeated Afghanistan 2-1 with goals from strikers Jeje Lalpekhlua and Sunil Chhetri, the captain scoring in the 101st minute. The rankings will prove a major boost to the mental strength of the players who will be raring to prove their quality and shut off critics.
Since its inception in 1999, the FIFA rankings’ average puts the Indian National Team squad on the 134th spot in terms of average and the Blue Tigers will do themselves the world of good if they manage to hold on or better their current rank. India shares the 100th spot with Nicaragua and Lithuania with 331 points. The National Team can be closer to the elusive 70th rank if they perform strongly in the games they play in 2017.
Published: Thu May 04, 2017 03:26 PM IST