Football is the most popular game in the world. An undeniable fact that can be proven by seeing the number of people that watch football everyday. Part of the reason why this game has reached every part of the world, is because of the simplicity of the game. You just need 11 players and one ball. Which is why, people have wondered why football has never really taken off in a country like India. You have 1.2 billion pairs of feet that could have some football talent in them. But a combination of poor infrastructure and general disinterest shown by the powers to be, has resulted in India’s prevailing state of football.
But Nita Ambani sought out to change all this in 2014. Indian football can be divided in to two eras; pre 2014 and post 2014. The Indian Super League was a brilliant idea. Not only did it give a platform to budding footballers, it also gave confidence to the parents of these kids. Now, they realized that their child could earn a living out of this game. This was an important hurdle that the ISL help dislodge.
The advent of the Indian Super League brought a level of razzmatazz and excitement to football that had earlier been reserved for only cricket. The IPL showed us that a league which pitted cities against each other, could work brilliantly. Now, the ISL did the same and they brought in former football superstars to spark an interest in the average football fan.
The increasing exposure of football on television, has also played a crucial role. Television is still a hugely important channel in India, which is why the comprehensive broadcast of the best football leagues in the world, should not be under estimated.
But while STAR and SONY gave youngsters the opportunity to watch football, Nita Ambani created the opportunity to play football.
This is what Nita Ambani had to say about the Indian Premier League in an exclusive interview for Goal.com.
“Right from the outset, Indian Super League has been geared towards one overarching objective – to develop football across the country in a systematic and holistic manner. As the second most populous country in the world, India’s absence from the world soccer has been notable. However, over the last two-years much has changed, and the world has started to take note of India’s systematic rise in football.”
“India has no dearth of talent, we need to show them the right way, nurture and provide opportunities to our youth. I am impressed with the way our boys have taken up the challenge in the ISL and have matched with their international counterparts. One can see the notable difference in our boys attitude and body language.”
“In building the Indian Super League, we have committed to propel Indian football to its rightful place– with Indian talent, facilities, passion and ambition to reach the very pinnacle of the game. The League is built on strong values which will ensure that long-term and sustainable growth is achieved through concerted and mutually-aligned effort from all Indian football stakeholders,” she expressed.
The results are there for everyone to see. It is no co-incidence that the Indian national football team has made huge progress over the last couple of years. India recently broke into the top 100 of the FIFA rankings. And this team could go even better over the next few months.
Indian football is on the cusp of something special. And we need to thank Mrs Ambani for that.