Currently, the Indian Super League (ISL) is a huge factor playing its role in the Indian Football scene. The introduction of the ISL in 2014 was a great initiative by the AIFF to help players be more active on the field, get more playtime, and also help youngsters to play more competitively. ISL helped in a lot of factors such as finance, reach, investments, advertisements, and mainly gave players an aim and fans a ray of hope for Indian Football.
India’s football team was ranked in the 150 regions in FIFA rankings for a long time. They had even slipped to 173 in 2015. Two years after the launch of the ISL, Indian football has seemed to go in the right direction. India ranked 137 in 2016 and achieved its best FIFA ranking since February 1996, as it ranked 96th position in 2017. Many experts regard ISL to be behind India’s success. Steve Coppell, when working for Jamshedpur FC as a manager, said, “Since the ISL started, the Indian national team has gone from about 170th to 100th in the FIFA rankings, and Stephen Constantine has done a terrific job. I think that the ISL has played a part in it.” India currently ranks 108th in the FIFA football rankings.
Keeping in mind the effect of ISL, we should also consider the current situation where a player has no clear path on which he/she will get the opportunity to play in the big leagues is also a huge drawback. Parents, on the other hand, do not have the utmost confidence in football as a career choice that would provide sustained revenue and have economic stability. These reasons then convert to a lack of support for the child who wishes to pursue a career in football. The grooming of players at an early age is what is majorly missing in their development.
There is still is a lot of ground to be covered by India’s football system to reach its highest potential. New platforms, new tournaments, new talents will surely help India to achieve a much higher rank.
Fingers crossed, let’s hope for the best.