Sachin Tendulkar feels India can make impact on world football
Sachin Tendulkar has no qualms in admitting that football is nowhere near cricket on the popularity chart in India but says the country cannot wait to host the 2017 Under-17 FIFA World Cup.Tendulkar, who co-owns the Kerala Blasters team in the Indian Super League , asserted that football’s popularity is on the up-rise in the cricket-obsessed country.
Absolutely massive. Everyone is looking forward to it, everyone is excited and the guys are waiting to welcome the World Cup to India. It’s going to be massive, it’s good for India because people are appreciating ISL and FIFA coming to India is a big, big thing,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by ‘fifa.com’.
Tendulkar said the ISL has helped in creating a new fan base for football.Football is getting popular – it’s nowhere near cricket, but I don’t like comparisons. It’s about appreciating each and every sport – the skills, the hard work and the sacrifices the players make. Each individual should be respected for that and Indian people are appreciating ISL in a big way,” he said.
I’m thrilled that their response has been special and people are following not only the foreign players but the domestic players too…overall that is how football in India is going to grow. With India’s billion-plus population, if it grows it’s definitely going to have a positive impact on football all over the world,” he said.
Asked why he chose to involve himself in football, Tendulkar said, “I feel India is embracing other sports in a big away and this was a great opportunity to be involved with football and contribute in whatever possible manner in Kerala and then promote football there. The response has been phenomenal we have had huge average crowds – so it’s been fabulous.”
I told the players, ‘Don’t worry about the result, play fearless football. Don’t worry about the result all the time because that doesn’t help. The process is something you need to focus on and not the result. I want you to go out and express yourself and then play the brand of football that Kerala Blasters should be known for and if we manage to do that then we will manage to win hearts across India. That is something that matters to me – the brand of football. Yes, you might go out and lose some games, but that happens to every sportsman. It’s the brand of football we play that matters,” he added.
I think the infrastructure of how football is run in India is going to become critical. How the season is played also becomes very important – you want to try to make your domestic season as competitive as possible and then find the best talent who are part of the ISL. With the exposure of having rubbed shoulders with some of the top footballers from all parts of the world, the Indian team will eventually benefit as well. I have no doubts that the change is going to happen and happen for the better,” he concluded on being aksed about how footba;ll would benefit from cricket in India.