There was a time when we would speak only one language- Cricket. It used to be the ice-breaker, the group bonder and the relationship builder all rolled into one. But if the viewership for the EPL and the like are any indicators, we are on the way to becoming multi-lingual very soon.
Although football is the world’s favourite game, it has garnered our attention fairly recently. However there have always been some pockets in India which were home to the football fanatics-Kerala, Tripura, West Bengal, Assam and the like. There have been instances when near-riot situations have happened when the favourite team lost.
In India, Mohun Bagan is the oldest club. It is also one of the oldest clubs in Asia, having been established in 1889. It has its home ground as the Salt-lake stadium and is known for its rivalry with the East Bengal Club with whom it contests the Kolkata derby.
In spite of the early start, why has Indian football not picked up? Is it the lack of sponsors or is it the lack of infrastructure? Is it the lack of fine talent or is it the dwindling number of viewers? In any case, if recent indicators are to be believed, we are poised to take off in football in a very big way. We have got a chance to host the 2017 Under 17 Football world cup. Also, some of our budding players are being offered international trainings in the best of football schools abroad, not to mention the star players in India getting a chance to sign up with the teams abroad.
With the kind of talent that we have and the atmosphere that we create, we can certainly be hopeful that we can have an alternative to cricket. Not that cricket is not entertaining enough, just that another sport to kindle our imaginations is the need of the hour.