India lost all its encounters in the ongoing World Cup under 17 and had to exit in the first round itself though not disgracefully but with some respect as they played with some improved techniques, of course thanks to the Portuguese Coach whose elders have laid a strong base of Goan soccer. India’s exit is unbearable when it is having lot of resources to produce best of foot-ballers not only in India and Asia but in the whole World too. Indian Olympic squad in 1956 Melbourne Olympics had the unique distinction to enter into quarter final where for one of the brilliant hat trick goals of our Goan Neville D’Souza, the then Olympic President just jumped from his chair in excitement, exclaiming, “see the wonderful goal scored by that Indian”. Those days players had more dedication for the love of soccer but today it is for money and other perks. Besides, there is no dedication on the part of the soccer administrators to improve the standard of this game in India.
In Kuwait I saw its Junior national team and I can rightly say they will easily beat our seniors. Why this disparity when India is such a huge country having such a vast manpower at its disposal that can be trained so well as it was done in Kuwait with the paid assistance of Brazilian know-how? The Kuwaiti Senior soccer team is one of the best in Asia and being a small country having such a thin manpower, Kuwait played in the Olympics and World Cup too because Kuwait has dedicated, sincere and faithful officials to run their Soccer.
As a matter of interest, immediately following the 1974 World Cup tournament, Kuwait acquired the services of World best soccer Coach, Brazilian Mario Zagallo who won the World Cup for Brazil in 1970 as a Manager and in 1958 as a player with baby Pele. Kuwait paid him monthly salary of $20,000/- with boarding and lodging plus other perks.
Once in mid eighties our Goan organizers of competitive soccer for Indians, at Kuwait Sour Grounds, under the leadership of renowned soccer administrator and International Umpire, J.P. D’Mello based in Kuwait as FIFA’s representative, approached the Kuwaiti Soccer administrator for requesting him to provide a ground for our soccer. His Secretary encountering us at the entrance, questioned thus: “SINU, HINDI? KOORA?” and laughed sarcastically. To interpret his Arabic comment means, mockingly, “What? are Indians playing football?”
Yes, Indians are not only playing football but are also organizing Soccer World Cup as witnessed in the World Cup under 17. Besides gaining experience in hosting of World Cup, Indian soccer team also gained the know–how of playing at world level. Moreover, the infrastructure and other facilities created for this World Cup will be a great asset to move further in promoting Indian soccer. These are huge gains for India.