Football Illiteracy a major hiccup: Sports researcher Kanishka Pandey

New Delhi, March 31: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has rolled out its vison 2047 to make India a football powerhouse.

However, a study conducted by sports researcher Dr Kanishka Pandey, who heads the Centre for Sports Research in IMT Ghaziabad, highlights different fundamental challenges to this vision.

'Football Illiteracy a major hiccup': Sports researcher Kanishka Pandey

The study was conducted in several villages of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi to understand the level of football knowledge, awareness, literacy,and culture.

"Total 3500 children in the age bracket of 8 to 12 were surveyed. Out of these only 315 kids knew that there are 11 players in a football team which is around 9 per cent. Only 455 Children i.e 13 per cent knew that a goal can be scored even with the head. There are three referees in a football pitch was known by 35 children (1 per cent). 315 children i.e 9 per cent could rightly tell that there is red and yellow card in football. Moreover only 9 per cent children knew that football shoes are called studs. Lastly only 1 per cent children knew who Sunil Chetri is whereas 28 per cent knew Virat Kohli," report stated.

Despite this revealing data Dr Pandey is still hopeful and said, "amidst all this conundrum, the situation is not entirely desolate and there is a silver lining. Despite the poor levels of football knowledge, it was still the second most popular sport after cricket (barring games like hide and seek, kho-kho etc) and 20% children had either played it sometimes in their lives or are currently playing the sport."

"This clearly means that, as of now football is being played even in rural India but there is no structure to it. Children are playing the game but the approach is frivolous. A level of following of the sport does exist but it is haphazard. Therefore, what we need is a proper structure, proper mechanism and moreover information circulation in a correct way."

Dr Pandey has written to the Sports minister Anurag thakur and the AIFF highlighting these issues and has also suggested numerous remedial steps that can be taken.

'Football Illiteracy a major hiccup': Sports researcher Kanishka Pandey
IANS 31 March 2023 Post Your Comments

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