Indians figure nowhere in top 10 list

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:27 IST

The Indian football team is scheduled to tour South Africa next month, but this is subject to govt clearance, since one of India's matches is against Pakistan.

Indians figure nowhere in top 10 list
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New Delhi:

The Indian football team is scheduled to tour South Africa next month for a four-nation tournament. However, this is subject to government clearance, since one of India's matches is against Pakistan. But if the latest National Football League is any indication, the biggest stars in Indian football right now are all foreigners, with just two Indians in the list of top 15 goal scorers. The Indian team is scheduled to have a camp in Delhi from May 1 in preparation for the tour of South Africa. The other three teams will be South Africa, Namibia and Pakistan. The All India Football Federation has named the list of probables and they have also retained Sukhwinder Singh as coach. Sukhwinder stays on despite the fact that his team, JCT, avoided relegation in the NFL. And the coach is not the only one who has done badly. So have the Indian players. The top 15 goal scorers from the Tata National Football League consist of 13 foreign players, with Yukubu Yusif of Churchill Brothers topping the list with 17 goals. Jose Barreto of Mohun Bagan finished second. The only Indians in the top 15 are Praveen Kumar, whose team Punjab Police were actually relegated and the other was Alex Ambrose of Salgaocar. That's a huge slump since the days of the first National Football League, when Baichung Bhutia was the top scorer with 14 goals. The next year Raman Vijayan was the top scorer, but for the next four years it's been foreign players. This is hardly surprising, since Indian football rules allow five foreign imports in each team. And unless that changes, India could soon find itself slipping even further in the world football rankings.

Topics : Football
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