Most of you know that from June 11 till July 11 the worlds most important event takes place, the Soccer World Championship in South Africa.
While I was researching the important matches and trying to fit that somehow into our India schedule, I realized that India does not participate in the World Championship. I was stunned, should this country of 1.2 bln have no decent soccer players? I mean even North Korea (not exactly known as a soccer super power) somehow qualified. So, where is India?
I was even more surprised to learn, that soccer is extremely popular in India even outnumbering cricket and hockey. It is extremely popular with the lower and middle class. The Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Calcutta is the second largest Stadium in the world, and the 120.000 seats are sold out on games of the Indian premier league.
So even though there is a large population of soccer fans and soccer player the Indian national team (aka The Bhangra Boys) never qualified even once for a soccer world championship. However, in 1950, for political reasons some team withdrew, and India moved up, and was invited to play in the world championship. Surprisingly the All India Football Federation decided to pass because the FIFA required all players to wear shoes, an unacceptable infringement on the liberties of the Indian team, which was known to play without shoes but with bandages.
Let’s see and wait what happens in 2014.
- Vitus Holzner