Why India Can’t Make Football for 2022 World Cup?

Why India Can’t Make Football for 2022 World Cup?

“Thirty-two teams travelled to Japan and Korea to wage the seventeenth World Cup Championship in the shiny new stadiums of twenty cities. Pakistani children sewed the high-tech ball for Adidas that started rolling on opening night in the stadium at Seoul: a rubber chamber, surrounded by a cloth net covered with foam, all inside a skin of white polymer decorated with the symbol of fire. A ball to lure fortunes from grass.” 

Famous sports writer Eduardo Galeano‘s words about the 2002 World Cup Football was a real shock to football loving, but patriotic Indians like us. Football for the World Cup was ‘Made in Pakistan’. We couldn’t digest this fact. We dug deep to find out the truth. The truth revealed was even more shocking. For the first time, we hated football. More than 50% of the football balls in the world is manufacturing in Pakistan. Some reports claimed 80%. TELSTAR 18, the ball of World Cup 2018 is manufactured in Pakistan. BRAZUCA, the ball of World Cup 2014 was manufactured in Pakistan. How could a patriotic Indian football fan live peacefully knowing that the football for the world is mostly supplied by Pakistan? Hard core Indian cricket fans never like to watch Pakistan overtaking India in numbers (runs). How could a hard core football fan then survive with this information? To be frank, we are not against Pakistan. We love them also. But, we want India to be the number one.

In 1980’s Sialkot produced ‘TANGO BALL’ for FIFA Football World cup in 1982. After the gap of 32 years Sialkot made soccer ball ‘BRAZUCA’ which was used in the FIFA Football World Cup 2014. The ball was produced by Forward Sports of Sialkot for Adidas. Forward Sports manufactured Telstar 18. All the major international brands like Adidas, Nike, Puma, Select, Litto, Umbro, Mitre, Micassa, Diadora, Wilsoms and Decathion are sourcing their supply of footballs from this Pakistani city. We appreciate Khwaja Masood Akhtar, owner and CEO of Forward Sports for making football for the world cups.

We compete with Pakistan to own more lethal weapons. Why don’t we compete with Pakistan to make more balls than they do? The JABULANI, ball of 2010 World Cup football was manufactured in China using latex bladders from India. Now China is emerging as a destination for football ball making. The Pakistani Company got the order for Brazuca, because of a Chinese company’s difficulty to supply ball on time.

The Germany based Adidas started to make soccer balls in 1963. They made the first official FIFA World Cup ball in 1970. ‘TELSTAR’ is the first ball used in the World Cup to use the Buckminster type of design. It was the first ball with 32 black and white panels. The TELSTAR was more visible on black and white televisions. 1970 Mexico World Cup was the first to be broadcast live on television. Adidas develops new footballs in partnership with researchers from institutions such as LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY of United Kingdom. Brazuca is the first FIFA World Cup ball named by the fans. The ball has been made of six polyurethane panels which have been thermally bonded.

Our question is “why can’t India make the footballs for 2022 world cup?” Why can’t an Indian educational institute compete with Loughborough University to associate with Adidas or any other football manufacturing companies to develop a new football design? Why can’t any Indian company compete with Pakistani or Chinese companies to get the order for producing footballs for the world cup? We strongly believe it is possible. Pakistanis or Chinese are not superior to Indians. Indians have the brain. Indians have the brawn. We just need to focus on the game. As the tagline of the movie ‘Million Dollar Arm’ says, “Sometimes to win, you have to change the game.”

How India Will Make Asli Indian Football?

India has premier technical institutions such as IITs (Indian Institute of Technology), NITs (National Institute of Technology), NID (National Institute of Design) and a huge number of engineering colleges. They have the research facilities. They have great teachers and promising students. If they take sports engineering in their offering, surely India will make football for 2022. Sports Engineering is emerged as an independent discipline in 1998 in UK. But still today, none of our premier engineering institutions have a Sports Engineering course. When we started India’s first sports engineering course at Sports & Management Research Institute (SMRI), we approached the Director of a premier engineering institution to inaugurate the course. He asked, “What’s the role of engineering in sports?” Thousands of seats are vacant in Engineering colleges across India. Lakhs of Engineering graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Engineering academicians with frog’s brain will not save India’s engineering education segment. Because, they don’t know actually what industry needs.

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The strong technical back up of premier technical institutions will help Indian sports goods manufacturers to defeat Pakistan in the game of football making. In 2018, India and Pakistan is celebrating the 135th anniversary of native Sports Good Manufacturing Industry. Indian Sports Goods Manufacturing industry started in 1883 in Sialkot (part of British India) It’s the right time to revamp our sports goods manufacturing industry and start our journey to be the best.

60% of sports goods manufacturing in India is exporting. Good. But that is not enough. We must be the number one sports goods manufacturing country in the world. We need a strong research base. Sports & Management Research Institute (SMRI) is working to create such a strong base. Indian football makers must dream and work to win the order for making football for the next world cup in 2022. It will be a great booster for Indian sports good manufacturing industry.

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