It is seriously heartbreaking momentum for Indian Football U-23 Team, who recently won a treble in intercontinental tournaments, is not allowed to be in the Asian Games just because they are not able to meet the criteria that the Sports Ministry of India has set.
The Sports Ministry of India’s criteria is that every team needs to be among the Top 8 in Asia to participate in the Asian Games 2023. Indians Men’s football team is at 18th rank in Asia and 100th in the FIFA world ranking. The senior men’s team recently won InterContinental Cup and SAFF Championship, and coach Igor Stimac is also managing the U-23 Indian football team and want Indian Sports Ministry to give permission to them to let them compete in the Asian Games 2023.
It had already been communicated to member federations by the Sports Ministry that “for team events, only those sports which have achieved a ranking up to eighth among participating countries of Asia in the last year should be considered for participation in the Asian Games.” This is a continuation of their stance from the 2018 Asian Games, where they denied the AIFF the opportunity to submit a squad despite them being ranked 14th in Asia at the time. The Asian Games, which have been a U-23 competition since 2002, usually involve teams from the top 20 nations, with India being the lone exception in 2018 and likely again in 2023.
Coach Stimac’s argument referred to the fact that the India team from the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup had significant investment in their growth and “gave a great performance at the U-23 World Cup qualifiers and is one very talented team.” He declared that we will battle for the honor of our flag and our country.
The Indian football team’s disqualification from the Asian Games raises concerns about the IOA’s evaluation standards. Even if rankings are important, it’s important to remember that India is not the continent’s football superpower. And therein should be the AIFF’s defense.
Many football fans and footballers are making videos about the scenario and circulating it all over Instagram and Twitter.