Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter once famously stated India as a 'sleeping giant' in world football and the nation has failed to wake up from their sleep as their current standings in the FIFA rankings suggest. They stand 156th in the latest FIFA rankings.
India are not expected to take Asian football by storm, forget world football, but the men in blue are at least expected to defeat some minor teams such as Guam, which they failed in their last World Cup qualifier game.
Former India cricketer, who is the co-owner of the Indian Super League side, Atletico de Kolkata, believes that the AIFF has to play an important role to help improve the standard of Indian football.
With the coming up of the ISL, the crowds may have come back and a genuine interest might have crept up, but better infrastructure also needs to be provided by the AIFF for these players when they play at various other competitions including I-League, India's premier domestic club competition.
"Success of any sport nationally or internationally depends on the infrastructure of the entire system. ISL is for a period of two months. ISL provides the structure for the Indian franchise. But I think IFA* (AIFF) has to play a much bigger role if the football in India has to go forward with the support of ISL," PTI quoted Sourav Ganguly as saying.
ISL may have been following a similar pattern to that of the Indian Premier League (cricket), but there is a huge contrast when it comes to the ruling body of the respective sport in India.
BCCI has the money to provide the best of the best facilities to the players, while AIFF may not have such money as that of BCCI to make wholesale changes, but they can surely work to their maximum capability to improve the standard of Indian football.
Ganguly feels that the AIFF should function like the BCCI.
"Like in cricket, BCCI supports IPL and it is the body that runs the national team and makes sure they do well and the domestic structure is in place. Similarly IFA (AIFF) should play the pivotal role."
*Sourav Ganguly meant AIFF.