Indian Football News: Still no clarity over Indian Football Team’s participation in Asian Games

Indian Football News, Latest Football News, Asian Games 2018 News
Image Credit - Indian Express

Indian Football News, Latest Football News, Asian Games 2018 News

The Indian men’s football team’s participation in the Asian Games faced a significant obstacle on Wednesday after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) decided that it will adhere strictly to its criteria for team events, which allows only the top 8 teams to participate in the event. What is more interesting, or heartbreaking, is that this Asian Games 2018 news came amidst AIFF’s (All India Football Federation) optimism.

The latest football news suggests that the All India Football Federation (AIFF), which is believed to have received positive hints from the Sports Ministry, stated that it was “very hopeful” that the Indian football team will be cleared for the multi-sport extravaganza.

However, the IOA’s stand is that it can only send the top eight teams in team events as per the norm of the Asian Games. As reported by the Times of India, the IOA secretary Rajeev Mehta said, “I will not speak about individual sports but the criteria of top 8 in team events and top 6 in individual events stand. We will stick to that.”

Despite Indian Olympic Association’s stand, AIFF ‘confident of going to the Asian Games’

On the other hand, displaying optimism, AIFF general secretary Kushal Das said, “Our president Mr Praful Patel has spoken to Mr Narinder Batra (IOA president) and we are very hopeful of our team being sent to the Asian Games.”

“And it’s not just about the men’s team. Football has to be seen in a different light and it can’t be compared to handball or any other sport. I have the highest regard for Mr Batra and Mr Rajeev Mehta. We are confident of going to the Asian Games,” Das added.

Indian men’s football team is currently ranked 16th in Asia and 97th in the world, which doesn’t fulfil the criteria that IOA needs in order to allow the Blue Tigers to the Asian Games. However, the AIFF wants the authorities to look beyond rankings and make a special consideration.

The Indian football recently lifted the Intercontinental Cup after defeating Kenya 2-0 in the final in Mumbai. India’s dominant performance in the tournament gave a boost to coach Stephen Constantine’s belief that the team should be the sent to the Asian Games 2018.

Infact, prior to the Intercontinental Cup final in Mumbai, Stephen Constantine had appealed to the Indian government to send the Indian football team for the mega sporting event. The Englishman had said, “We need more games and if the government is listening, send us to the Asian games. It’s an U-23 event and we have 11 players in this squad who are below 23. The benefits the players will gain from the Asian Games will be huge.”

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