Sports Minister Vijay Goel today lauded the Indian football team for achieving its best-ever FIFA ranking in two decades and asked the players to stay focused on the challenges that lay ahead. India rose to the 96th spot in the latest FIFA rankings, its best-ever in the last two decades and the second best overall. In the process, India are currently placed 12th in AFC. “We are going through a golden period of football and the best is yet to come. The present FIFA spot doesn’t mean that we have achieved much. We need to stay focused on the upcoming challenges,” Goel said in a statement.
He said that with India hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year coupled with the ‘Mission 11 Million’ programme, India will “surely be the next big bright spot” in international football. Goel reiterated that youngsters must take up every sport seriously and the ministry is committed to providing the best facilities to the players, coaches and support staff.
India’s best-ever FIFA ranking till date stays 94, which was attained in February 1996, while 99 was India’s second- best, achieved in November 1993. The national team has been on an upsurge with a string of impressive results leading to a climb of 77 places over the last two years. The team has now won 13 of its last 15 matches and is unbeaten in the last eight games (including the unofficial match against Bhutan).