The World Cup 2014 may have just concluded a few months ago, but qualification for the next edition in Russia is all set to begin shortly.
The first few months of qualification, especially in the Asian regions, will eliminate a number of weak teams like Bhutan and India. Both teams have failed to reach the final stages of the World Cup in the history of my game. However, there are several reasons to expect much more positives from these nations this time around. India, especially, is seen as one of the sleeping giants in the game.
Despite a massive population of more than 1 billion people, the nation has been unable to take football in the same way as it has done with cricket. Cricket continues to enjoy overwhelming popularity in the Indian subcontinent, but the recently concluded Indian Super League has provided football fans with a glimmer of hope. The inaugural season of the ISL proved a major hit with a number of foreign names like Alessandro Del Piero and Nicolas Anelka playing in this division for a few months. The football was also of high-quality and this is expected to inspire a new generation of football fans in India.
Nepal’s American coach says that India remains a top country in this region and his aim is to beat India. “India are tough opponents but our boys have played a lot of domestic matches. We had a good training before the tournament and everyone in the side is quite fit. I think we are up for the task. Our target is to get into the second round,” said Nepal coach Stefanowski. The likes of Cambodia are also hoping to reach the final stages of qualification. “I am encouraged by the result and the performance. We have a lot of work still to do. We have to remain focused on getting to the next stage,” saidCambodia coach Lee.