Indian Football 2022: Top 10 things to watch out in Indian football this NEW-YEAR, don’t miss this action?
Indian Football in 2022: Indian football was filled with a lot of action in 2021 but the next year promises to be…
Indian Football in 2022: Indian football was filled with a lot of action in 2021 but the next year promises to be even greater as India gear up to host several international tournaments. Starting from women’s football, Indian Super League, I-League to the Indian national’s third round qualifiers, the year is fully packed with Indian footballing action. Follow all the Indian football Updates only on InsideSport.IN
Therefore we at InsideSport.IN have listed the top 10 events in Indian Football to look forward to in 2022.
Women’s AFC Asian Cup
The year will start with a bang as the Indian Women’s national team will go up against some of the big guns in Asia. India will host the tournament so it is all the more necessary to back out Blue Tigresses. Head coach Thomas Dennerby and his team recently visited Brazil and played the Selecaos and top teams like Venezuela and Chile in a Four-Nation tournament as a preparation for the continental crown.
⌛ 𝕋ℍ𝔼𝕐 𝔸ℝ𝔼 𝔸𝕃𝕃 ℂ𝕆𝕄𝕀ℕ𝔾 ℍ𝕆𝕄𝔼 🥶— Indian Football Team (@IndianFootball) December 27, 2021
The biggest party of the winter is happening across Mumbai, Pune and Navi Mumbai ⚽
Join us in welcoming the best of Asia as #WAC2022 kicks off on 20 January 2022! 🏆 #OurGoalForAll #ShePower pic.twitter.com/QZH6WjgI9l
The Women’s AFC Cup start from 20th January next year and will run through till 6th February. The Blue Tigresses have been clubbed in a tough group along with contenders China, Chinese Taipei and Iran. It will be interesting to see the Indian women’s team fight it out against the best teams in Asia.
The Indian Super League has seen a rise of many Indian youngsters this season. The decrease of foreigners in the starting eleven has helped domestic players to shine and showcase their talent at the big stage. Overall ISL have been very competitive as the top four places keep on changing after every matchday.
While Mumbai City FC are at the summit, teams like Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters, ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad FC are also in the mix despite facing several issues this season. Chennaiyin, Bengaluru and Odisha FC are also not very far behind. So a lot can happen in the second phase of the Indian Super League.
The I-League started with 13 teams on Boxing day this year. But only after completing matchday 1, the league had gone on a hiatus after several positive COVID-19 cases were detected in the bio bubble. There was a bubble breach in one of the team hotels and the league will now get postponed for a minimum of two weeks.
But we can hope that things will get back on track for the teams and also for the All India Football Federation (AIFF) as fans cannot wait to see their favourite teams in action. This season can be a major head-turner as it will see the likes of Rajasthan Untied, Sreenidi Deccan and Kenkre FC make their debut at this level. While the first two teams have already featured in the first matchday, Kenkre are still waiting for their first-ever I-League game.
AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Third Round
The Indian national team will have tough challenges this year as they will look to prepare for the third round of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. The joint qualifiers ended on a sour note for the Blue Tigers as they finished third in the group behind Asian Champions Qatar and Oman. India were at par with their performances but not consistent enough under their Croatian head coach Igor Stimac.
However, that narrative has to change if the Blue Tigers are looking to qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup which will be held in China. The third round of the qualifiers will begin in June and the Blue Tigers will have to be at their very best to qualify for the continental tournament.
Gokulam Kerala in AFC Cup
Gokulam Kerala created history last season when they won their maiden I-League title last season under the tutelage of head coach Vincenzo Albert Annese. Therefore the Malabarians will feature in the AFC Cup for the first time. It will be a big opportunity for the Kozhikode based outfit to represent India in Asia. So it will be interesting to see how they prepare for the big tournament. Annese and his men will get the entire I-League season to prepare and will hope that they can leave their mark in Asia.
Mumbai City FC in AFC Asian Champions League
A trend that was started by FC Goa this year will be continued by Mumbai City FC next year. Ther Islanders finished at the top of the ISL points table and later went on to bag the title by defeating ATK Mohun Bagan. Therefore they qualified for Asia’s biggest tournament, AFC Champions League.
FC Goa gave a great account of themselves this year in a very tough group. The Gaurs finished third in their group that had teams like Persepolis, Al Wahda and Al Rayyan. Des Buckingham led Mumbai City FC will also look to follow the same route or even go further in the tournament.
India to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup
Originally the U-17 Women’s World Cup was supposed to be held in 2020 but with the advent of COVID-19, the tournament got cancelled. But FIFA decided to allow hosting rights of the 2022 edition of the tournament to India. So now the U-17 Women’s World Cup will be held in India next year.
This will be the second time India will host such an event after the U-17 Men’s World Cup which was held back in 2017. This will the debut tournament for the Indian u-17 Women’s team and they will look to give a good account of themselves in front of their fans.
Indian Women’s League
India’s elite women’s league will be back for another action-packed season. Last season’s Indian Women’s League got cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But the Indian Women’s League is all set to make a comeback next year featuring the best women’s teams in the country.
The IWL started in 2016 and since then it has helped in promoting women’s football in the country. Teams from all over the country feature in this league. The last edition of the league saw Gokulam Kerala win the title and therefore make their way to the Women’s AFC Cup this year. So it will be interesting to see if the Malabarians manage to defend their title or we get a new champion.
Future of Indian football without Sunil Chhetri?
India’s talisman Sunil Chhetri is going through a rough Indian Super League season. The 37-year-old has missed two spot-kicks this season and is yet to open his tally for the campaign. He even lost his place from the starting eleven. So there is a lot of talk about the Indian skipper’s journey finally coming to an end or not.
This season has also seen the emergence of players like Liston Colaco, Vikram Pratap Singh, etc who have done really well in front of goal. Liston has scored five goals till now and has announced himself to this level. However, Chhetri has gone through several rough patches in his career till now and have always come out of it with flying colours. So we can expect the Indian captain to stick around for another year.
The return of the Super Cup next year?
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) are taking a call on bringing back the premium cup competition in 2022. The return of the Super Cup will be very exciting as we will get to see our favourite Indian Super League and I-League teams go up against each other. The tournament was last organised in 2019 when FC Goa won the title under Sergio Lobera.