Indians are embracing football and dispelling the myth that cricket is the only sport for them, a satirical documentary episode reveals ahead of their crunch 2019 Asian Cup match against the UAE on Thursday.
Entitle Why Do Indians Hate Football? Episode 2 of the Voices of Asia documentary series uncovers a growing appreciation in India for football and calls on fans to get behind the squad.
Its release is perfectly timed as India prepare to take on the the Asian Cup hosts at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. Kick off is 8pm.
India top Group A after beating Thailand 4-1 in their opening match while the UAE managed only a draw against Bahrain.
Under the tournament theme of “Bringing Asia Together”, student Pranav Vishwamitra surveys Indians from the UAE to Kerala to examine how the sport is beginning to challenge cricket for a place in the collective consciousness of his home nation.
Model Sumin Rose said in the film: “There is a special place for football in our hearts. There is a belief that Indians only play cricket but that’s completely wrong: Indian domestic club football has seen exponential growth over the last few years. Indians now feel the need to support their national team.”
Rufus D’Souza, a football coach in Kerala for the past 50 years, also said he had witnessed an upturn in interest. He said: “Thanks to the ISL (Indian Super League) boys are playing football again, football is coming back.”
Rimesh Panikar, president of the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISCC) in Abu Dhabi, said: “I would urge all of the Indian community, wherever India is playing, to support their team, it is our responsibility to go watch the games.”
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