The Missing Class in Indian Sports

India has the talent to be a contender in international football. What’s lacking is a framework to nurture it

01 July 2010
Zinedine Zidane plays football with children in Algiers. Zidane, whose father worked in a warehouse, is emblematic of football’s ability to change the lives of working class kids.
AP PHOTO
Zinedine Zidane plays football with children in Algiers. Zidane, whose father worked in a warehouse, is emblematic of football’s ability to change the lives of working class kids.
AP PHOTO

ANYONE WHO FOLLOWS FOOTBALL will know how skilled a player must be to score a goal straight from a free-kick. It gets tougher as the wall created by the defenders gets thicker, and the distance between the goalpost and the point from where the kick is taken increases. Often, such goals are scored by banana kicks.

The ball must swerve in the air, an arc in the shape of a banana—circumventing the wall of defenders, and misleading the goalkeeper of its direction and pace—and end up in the net. The player who scores such a goal tricks the entire opposite squad, all by himself, and no doubt must be a talent of superior grade, both physical and technical. He should know how to exercise enough pressure and spin on the ball, and just enough.

Brazil’s Roberto Carlos scored such a goal against France in a warm-up match for the 1998 World Cup, Zinedine Zidane against Spain in the 2000 Euro Cup, David Beckham against Greece in the 2002 World Cup qualifier, Ronaldinho against England in the 2002 World Cup, the list goes on. These men are some of the geniuses of the game, and the world enjoyed watching their magic.

Vinod K. Jose is the Executive Editor of The Caravan.

Keywords: India Vinod K Jose Roberto Carlos nepotism Ronu Zinedine Zidane 2000 Euro Cup 1998 World Cup Ronaldinho David Beckham Ronaldo Brazil
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