Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

As the Indian football team did not match the Sports Ministry's requirement of being ranked among the top-8 sides in the continent, the government of India denied the Blue Tigers' participation in the Asian Games for the second consecutive year. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had previously planned that Igor Stimac, head coach of the national senior team, would send an Under-23 team to the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8 after the Kings Cup in Thailand, which is scheduled to take place from September 7 to September 10, ends.

India is not even close to making the top 8 in Asia as they are ranked at the 18th spot, according to the  Asian Football Confederation. Football has been a U-23 sport at the Asian Games since 2002, with three players older than that age allowed on a team.

The Sports Ministry has stated that "for team events, only those sports which have achieved a ranking up to eighth among participating countries of Asia in the last year should be considered for participation in the Asian Games" in a letter sent to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all of the National Sports Federations (NSFs).

This news has not gone well with devoted fans of Indian football. They are without a doubt, disappointed by the fact that their favourite Blue Tigers will not feature at the Asian Games. It has sparked a nationwide outrage among sports fans and they have taken to social media, particularly Twitter, to showcase their displeasure.

Let’s take a look at some of the reactions:

Popular sports presenter and anchor Ridhima Pathak took to Twitter to express her opinion. She said, "Not only will it improve the technical aspect of the game, but it will also help them gain some quality experience. As a fan, as an Indian, it is a plead that India should be sent to the Asian Games."

A similar incident occurred when the Indian authorities refused to host a friendly match against World Champions Argentina. AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran confirmed that  India turned down the chance to host FIFA 2022 World Cup winners Argentina.

The fact that the Indian team has done well in the recent past, winning the SAFF Championship at home has added oil to the fire. Fans believe that Indian football will not grow unless it is allowed to compete against higher-ranked nations.