The Indian men’s football team suffered an embarrassing 6-0 loss to the United Arab Emirates — their heaviest defeat against the Gulf side — in the second international football friendly.
As many fans raised questions after the disappointing result, FC Goa’s Edu Bedia took to social media to shed some light on what supporters need to focus on in the aftermath.
“In the last 4 years I have been asked many times about how big a difference is there between Indian football and European football. And how could the level of Indian football be improved,” Bedia wrote in a post on Instagram.
“I have always answered the same thing and I think after what I saw yesterday, many people will agree.
“The India game was a hard blow of reality for Indian football. I think the Indian coach is doing a fantastic job to improve the young players and giving them opportunities with the national team.
“However, the reality is that the 80th team in the FIFA ranking is a level above India, and what matters less is the result and what should hurt the most is seeing the feeling of superiority in all aspects of the game from UAE – be it technical quality, tactics, space control etc.
“Journalists have asked me so many times when we can see India in a World Cup. But that cannot be the question India should be asking just right now. For that dream to be realised and though to occur, there needs to be years spent on working in academies and investing at the grassroots and youth level.
“There is talk that it would be good to nationalize a foreign player to raise the level of the national team, but we must look more towards the long term. It would be more efficient and wise to invest in coaches and infrastructure in the lower levels. And in a few years, the growth and improvement in Indian football will be there for all to see
“I really think that India is a future powerhouse in world football. That though, will need loads of work and patience,” Bedia wrote.
India played out a 1-1 draw against Oman in an international friendly before the game against UAE, with the friendlies were part of the preparations for the joint qualifying round matches of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup to be played in June.
Even though India are out of the reckoning for a 2022 World Cup berth but are still in contention for qualification in the 2023 Asian Cup.
India will next take on Qatar on 3 June, followed by Bangladesh on 7th and Afghanistan on 15. India are currently fourth in Group E with three points from five games. Qatar top the table with 13 points with Oman a point behind them in second.
A third-place finish in the group will help India get a direct berth in the third round of the qualifiers for the 2023 Asian Cup.