India Under 20 football team has beaten six-time Under-20 world champions Argentina in a sensational match at the COTIF international tournament. More than a stunning spectacle in itself, it's rather a luminous promise of India's emerging football glory. Yet, this is a moment when the dimwits at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) should hang their heads in shame.
In a thrilling encounter in Valencia, Spain, on Sunday, the Indian side scripted history as they beat the Argentines 2-1. Deepak Tangri scored in the 4th minute and Anwar Ali completed the tally with a goal in the 68th minute even as Floyd Pinto-coached team brushed aside a stiff Argentine challenge.
"This victory will definitely earn Indian Football more respect in the world of football. It opens up a window of opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the World on a regular basis, coach Pinto said after the match.
But it seems that back home such valour is not appreciated. The Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) decision to not send the Indian football team for the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia had just revealed the lopsided priorities at the helm of Indian sport.
The cold-blooded bureaucracy didn't even consider the fact that football is a U-23 event in the Asian Games. The Indian lads would have gained great amounts of exposure had they been allowed to participate. Unless you give them exposure at the highest levels who do you expect them to improve?
In an appalling decision, IOA didn't also consider the fact that more than 10 players of the Indian senior team that won the Intercontinental Cup recently were below 23 years. These young guns would have got a tremendous confidence boost if they were given the chance to participate on the pan-Asian platform.
The brick-headed thinking at the IOA was founded on a clause that in a team sport, the Indian side should be ranked eight or above to be qualified for participation at the Asian Games. The Indian football side is ranked 13th.
The Indian senior football coach himself had said earlier that the government had agreed to send the football team to Jakarta.
However, all that came to nought in the final stage, even as IOA bosses picked up sizeable Indian delegations for little known martial arts segments like Pencak Silat, Jujitsu, Wushu, and Sambo.