Indians are among top ten globally in terms of tickets sold for this year’s FIFA World Cup. But, there is no cheer for Madhya Pradesh. Forget about spectators from the state buying tickets for the World cup matches in Russia, it has never produced a single player for Indian team. Former soccer players from state felt that it is because this game was never given due importance in the past.
Training in MP is flawed and unsystematic leading to faulty preparation for tournaments. Players are not trained one on one on diet and exercises therefore turn out unfit. According to Anil, an ex national player, a systematic training schedule should be planned out focusing on age training and daily routine should be devised for players so they can manage studies and sports.Coaching, according to him has been a low point as the coaches are not properly trained, they do not have sufficient theoretical knowledge and need to adopt new coaching patterns such as C license and D license.
In support of this Dharmendra Sahu, an ex-national player and referee said that “ meeting player requirement and upgrading infrastructure can create wonders in Madhya Pradesh”. He said, “ We lack a grass ground in a football-heavy district such as Neemuch and all this due to the lack of sponsorship” According to him money has also been a restraining factor in football growth as football does not attract as many investors as other sports do in MP.He added, “ Change of office bearers is also necessary to bring fresh minds in the association who can steer MP football to success ”.
Both players agree that they are many obstacles MP football faces as it has failed to ever win a Santosh trophy even after organising most number of national tournaments and having a renowned Physical Education institute in Gwalior. Both players said, “We need to work towards a goal to make MP a football dominating state”.