Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha believes India can potentially produce players of high quality, should there be the encouragement and good infrastructure to play the game. The ex-France international had visited a team store in Mumbai, where he provided a valuable of piece of advice to the football fanatics present.
Speaking at the store, he said: “Scouts are always looking for experienced players, so it’s tough even for European players. It’s going to take time for Indian players to understand the game. There needs to be better encouragement and good infrastructure.” Meanwhile, United great Denis Irwin had also accompanied Saha at the event, and he advised more Indians to take up the sport, he said: “You never know. Football is getting bigger in India… It might take a while, but I’m sure India will make the World Cup…fingers crossed! The more people that play, the better it will get.”
Obviously, at the current period, young and highly-rated Indians are unlikely to get the opportunity to play in England owing to the work permit issues around. The national side needs to get into the top-50 of the FIFA rankings on a regular basis, and this is far easier said than done, considering there are plenty of nations with more-skilled players in the team pool.
The Indian Super League has helped India make progress into the top 100 of the FIFA rankings, and it may be more about progression in the coming years with several young players emerging from the blue. The overall age of the national side has reduced over the past four years, and this has had an impact on the performances, with India having qualified for the Asian Cup for only the fourth time in their history. They are unlikely to progress beyond the group stage of the major tournament, but they will be aiming for a rare win to boost the interest around the sport.