For long, Indian football has been making steady moves, thanks to the growing quality of the game in the I-League as well as the presence of the Indian Super League, which has given a much-needed boost to the beautiful game in the country. The national team, under Stephen Constantine, too have been doing well over the past few years.
It comes as a really welcome sign to hear from the FIFA President Gianni Infantino himself that India is steadily reaching towards success in football. The Swiss football administrator, who was present in Goa on Tuesday to unveil the logo of the U-17 FIFA World Cup, to be held in the country next year, also hailed the passion of everyone associated with the game.
"India has always been always mentioned as the 'Sleeping Giant.' But from what I have seen here, I am sure that India is now the passionate giant of football," said the 46-year-old Infantino, who replaced Sepp Blatter earlier this year.
"India are the World Champions of passion. All of this is due to the work which is being done by the All India Football Federation," he added. "The work done by AIFF is impressive and it is not a coincidence that football is developing in India and the passion is growing year after year."
India are currently ranked 148 by FIFA but Infantino feels it will not be too long when India will finally see themselves break into the top 100 rankings. "Results won't be immediate but it will follow in coming years. India is a passionate giant because I have been seeing the graph of development."
"The passion of the people, of the fans, of the players, of the youth and the people associated with football is heart-warming and makes the future bright," the FIFA president mentioned. "Football is already one of the top sports of India and it is the number one sport for the Indian youth. We aim to make it the number one sport in India for everybody."