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What will it take for India to win the FIFA World cup

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By Devika Sharma

In a nation dominated by cricket and Bollywood, it’s not unusual that people often forget about football. It can be distressing and highly exasperating for football fans in India to constantly remind people of their country`s football team, given the minuscule amount of TV space it occupies at international football tournaments. For those of you who are unaware, India has a national football team, controlled by the All India Football Federation. It is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, and a member of FIFA. In 1948, the AIFF was affiliated to FIFA. But the fact is India, ranked 133rd in the world, has never come close to qualifying for the World Cup.

Only once in 1950 India had a chance to play FIFA world cup but the players were not allowed to participate in the poor man’s game because Indians played soccer barefoot.

Football is called ‘the poor man’s game’. All it requires is a ball and a piece of land. India, a land of more than 1 billion people and a huge geographical area still finds it difficult to compose a strong team. It’s a shock and more of a surprise. Fans feel apathy and anger seeing this state of Indian football.

Let’s play ball

But population and expanse of land are not only the requirements to make a team. The game needs support from the people and the government. It needs will and dedication to be something.

Where’s the football practice?

If the sport needs to grow in terms of popularity, finance and become self dependant, then infrastructure needs to be taken care of.

The government has a crucial role to play in this. There are a 2.5 million government schools in India. Owing to that, the government must provide these with good play grounds and coaches, they should have a good pay scheme for these coaches to encourage them to take initiatives for training young talent. Basic facilities like a square grounds, logistics, promotional events and talent hunt programs must be organized on a national level.

More football tournaments should be organized at the international level which will give the game it’s needed exposure. It’s time for the sports federations to take their  hands out of the cookie jar and actually work for what they have been appointed for. Also the big investors, instead of promoting just cricket must come forward to provide financial help for football and sponsorships for the players. Administration should improve, maybe appointing a world class technical director by the AIFF will help. At last, nothing can raise the profile of the game than the game itself, the more entertaining is the game the more popularity it will gain.

What’s your favorite ISL team?

The biggest force that drives football in the nation is the interest of the young men and women who equally follow football and would love to see our country win laurels in the game.

The Indian Super League, an initiative by IMG and Reliance, two big business firms, wherein big business honchos, sports men and even actors have come forth to buy teams and promote football is a very encouraging step for Indian Football enthusiasts.

The 2014 season, with 8 teams, each of them having a roster of 22 players including 10 foreign players, 8 domestic Indian players, and 4 local Indian players is a step forward to integrate players and followers from around the world with their love for the game being the binder.

The enthusiasm of the youngsters towards not just clubs but the game of football shows that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. India is capable of being the best. If this enthusiasm and initiatives continue to grow, the day won’t be far when the most common notion of people all around the world will be ‘INDIA WILL WIN THE WORLD CUP!’

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Jaipur Literature Festival Takes A Questionable Stand On The #MeToo Movement

JLF's fast spreading presence in the international arena, calls for a more substantial stand on its part, as far as #MeToo is concerned.

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#MeToo, women
The hushed whispers are getting louder. Flickr

After several star speakers of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, including C.P. Surendran, Suhel Seth and Chetan Bhagat, among others, have been accused of sexually harassing multiple women, on the sidelines of the popular lit fest, the organisers, in a cautiously worded one-sentence tweet on Thursday, have supported the rising tide of the #MeToo campaign in India — but questions still remain.

“The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival unequivocally stands by the women who have courageously spoken out for equity and dignity and is committed to supporting and amplifying their voices,” the official handle of the JLF said in a tweet on Thursday.

The statement came two days after a petition was started on www.change.org by writer-editor Rajni George, asking its organisers to support the #MeToo India and stand up “against sexual harassment”.

#MeToo
Jaipur Literature Festival

“We write today regarding the serious and credible allegations of sexual harassment made recently against a number of men in and around the literary world, as part of the MeToo movement in India.

“We, the undersigned, are dismayed, saddened and angered by these accounts. We admire the work that the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) undertakes. As India’s largest and most recognised literature festival, we believe JLF is ideally placed to take the lead in addressing this urgent issue,” George’s petition said.

JLF’s response in the one-line tweet is general, and does not specifically mention whether any of the allegations that have now surfaced were earlier brought to the notice of the organisers.

It also does not make it clear whether the doors of the festival will remain closed for the accused in its future editions, or not. It further makes no comment whatsoever on several instances that are said to have taken place on the sidelines of the annual event.

#MeToo
Sanjoy K. Roy, with writers Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple as co-directors, has been instrumental in bringing societal issues to the fore.

Notably, many of the accused have featured in prominent sessions at what is described as the “greatest literary show on Earth”, and, in many instances, the festival has been instrumental in increasing their popularity as well as readership.

On its part, JLF, produced by Teamwork Arts, headed by Sanjoy K. Roy, and with writers Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple as co-directors, has been instrumental in bringing societal issues to the fore. In fact, the 2018 edition of the festival in January this year had come to a close with a hard-hitting debate on #MeToo, long before the campaign gained momentum in India.

Also Read: Watch Jaipur Literature Festival Live On Twitter

Many in the literary circles feel the benchmark that JLF has itself set over the course of its journey, its coming of age and gradual but distinct shift from controversies to substance in the recent years, its fast spreading presence in the international arena, calls for a more substantial stand on its part, as far as #MeToo is concerned. (IANS)