Indian Footballs' connection to England
Indian Footballs' Connection to England
Football is not just a game, it's a passion which unites people around the globe. So it does in India. Be it kids or adults, everyone has a passion - the game of football. My first column for football-rumours.com will focus the status of English football to Indian football.
English football is highly respected worldwide and the Premier League is titled one of the best leagues. The Premier League is packed with stars from different nations and cultures competing to clinch titles and glory.
The English game has a variety of different aspects, which makes it attractive to football supporters in India. There are two major connections between English and Indian football.
The first connection is the love for the English game. The above-mentioned aspect of a huge amount of international superstars like Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo or Thierry Henry creates a great hype across Indians. Premier League matches are broadcasted live in India and are followed by many Indians. They would like to see their great idols playing for the big teams. Clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal London or Chelsea FC are the clubs, which are supported and cheered most.
Young Indians dream to become footballers earning their money, while playing for top European clubs. English clubs are the most named teams by youngsters, while asked for their favourites, they would like to play in front of fanatic and enthusiastic fans like the English on grounds like Old Trafford or Highbury. They are fascinated by the passion and the enthusiasm English footballers and fans offer.
The second connection between these two countries is the Indian national team, which toured England in the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, while facing several club sides (e.g. Nottingham Forest) and national teams (e.g. Jamaica).
Indian star skipper Baichung Bhutia is the only player, who entered European football while playing for English 2nd Division club Bury FC from 1999 to 2002. Bhutia failed to succeed from a sporting point, but was a big hit while returning to India. He learned from the experiences he made in England and is now one of the best players in Asia. A dream, which is dreamed by many Indian youngsters - they name Baichung Bhutia as their idol, before they go on with players like Ronaldo, David Beckham or Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Bhutia profited from the different training methods and the physical game in England and brought these new methods to India. The gifted striker made his way to the history books in the second match to start for Bury FC on April 15, 2000, when he became the first Asian player to score a goal in the English professional game.
But why are Indians focusing on England and not countries like Germany, Italy or Spain?! Well, the answer could be the easiest one: There is a huge amount of Indians or persons of Indian origin living in England. This fact is the result of the historical connection between Britain and India.
Football is also popular with Indians in England, although Indians or Asians in general failed to break through in English football. There were and still are many talented youngsters who could make their mark in England and could be possible candidates for the English or even the Indian national team.
Two Indians have already made a big step towards becoming familiar faces in the Premier League: Michael Chopra (Newcastle United) and Harpal Singh (Leeds United). Both have succeeded to leave behind ethnical prejudices and to prove their ability to play football on a high level. Chopra is a regular in the England U21 national team and is tipped to become the first Asian-born player to play for the English senior team.
The future could see more players from the subcontinent in English football, as more and more Indians are showing that they can compete with the best of the best. Furthermore English clubs are realising the talent available in India. The latest example is the partnership between Leicester City and Indian champions East Bengal Club.
Be it past, present or future - the love for the game will strengthen already existing connections and start new ones between different nations, ethnical groups and fans. This should be goal we are striving for.
Article written by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel
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