FIFA ranking: Indian football team up to 96, achieve best position in 21 years
The Indian national football team achieved its best FIFA ranking since February 1996 as they were placed at No.96 in the latest rankings released on Thursday. In the process, India are currently 12th in Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
India’s best ever FIFA ranking till date stays 94 which was attained in February 1996.
Indian football and the national team have been on an upsurge with a string of good results leading to a climb of 77 places in the rankings over the last two years. The team has won 13 of their last 15 matches and are unbeaten in the last eight, including the unofficial match against Bhutan.
India were ranked 171 when Stephen Constantine took over as national coach for the second time in February 2015 and slipped further to 173 in March 2015.
Congratulating the team, All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel said: “It’s a giant leap of faith for Indian football. Two years back, we were 173 and now we have reached our second best FIFA ranking ever. The leap signifies the potential of Indian football. Congratulations to the national team boys, the coach, the staff and all in AIFF.”
Constantine stated: “When I took over, I had mentioned that my target was to bring India below 100. I am happy to have played a small part in this process. Kudos to the boys, the staff and a big thank you to my colleagues in AIFF for supporting us all throughout.
“But the present FIFA spot doesn’t mean that we have achieved much. We need to stay focused on the upcoming challenges.”
In an interview with the-aiff.com, Constantine later said, “If you look at the current team that started in our last two matches against the Kyrgyz Republic and Nepal, seven from the first XI have been introduced through a process in the last two years. That’s what satisfies me – the immense progress that the boys are making. I did the same thing in Rwanda, Malawi, Sudan, Nepal and even the first time I coached India.”
A qualification spot in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 is what India aims at this moment. That would be India’s second AFC Asian Cup stint in eight years, the last being in Doha in 2011.
(With inputs from AIFF)