Back in 1950 when India were invited to take part in FIFA (that time it was Jule Rimen trophy) world cup, the month long voyage was one of the reasons to withdraw India’s name from the competition.
Now it is 2012 and we have sci-fi communication system but one incident still proves Indian football infrastructure is still in medieval age.
The participant for this edition of Santosh Trophy from Andaman Island travelled all the way through a ship which actually took three days to land. They first arrived at Chennai where they had three days rest and then they took a train and reached Sambalpur, which took another twenty four hours.
Just imagine Andaman football team needed seven days to reach a tournament venue which is actually within the India.
The actual reason of this bizarre travel saga is the amount of convenience allowance provided by the AIFF. The amount is insufficient for air travel. The football association of Andaman doesn’t have the financial strength to send the team by air. So they had to take this route.
Now this is not the end of the storey. They will go back by this route only. They have to wait until 25th of May as there is no ship leaving for Andaman before 25th. AIFF will not provide accommodation for this extra period as they are already out of the tournament. The team management is running out of funds to arrange the accommodation for next few days.
The players were so tired and due to lack of practice they lost all the three matches in the group stage. The result was obvious as anyone could imagine the motivation level of the players. Indian football needs to spread across the length and breadth of the country. The Santosh Trophy could be a perfect stage for those states which don’t have a club in I- league. For that AIFF needs to improve the present scenario. Andaman is a part of India and they should not be neglected like this. We have seen good football player from Andaman like Francis Xavier in recent times. Football is a very popular sport in this island.
It can be reiterated that to nurture young talents India needs a good footballing infrastructure. The situation is not immutable but AIFF just needs iconoclastic ideas. Hope the game changes.