Speculation, they say, is not knowledge. But when speculation is fuelled by facts, the gravity of speculation increases manifold. Boosted by their recent 1-0 win against Kyrgyz Republic in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers in Bengaluru on June 13, the Indian National Team, as dynamics stand, looks forward to get into double digits of FIFA Rankings for World Football for the third-time ever.
But do facts and rankings matter for Players? Do the Players wait eagerly for the FIFA Rankings to come out? Are the FIFA Rankings fascinating for the Players as they are for the neutrals?
“For India, FIFA Rankings matter as they are an indication of how far we have come as a Team,” says Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. “As a Player when you go out on the pitch the FIFA Rankings are of no significance and what matters is the ability of the team that you are facing.”
“The ability of the Indian Team has increased,” Gurpreet takes a moment out adding: “We have evolved as a Team and the jump in the FIFA Ranking is just an indication of that.”
“If I had a chance of being 93 or of defeating Macau next, I will take the latter. But if we can get both. Then I’ll be the happiest man on this planet,” Gurpreet opines.
If FIFA Rankings were not to go by, the Indian National Team is currently on an eight match unbeaten streak including the unofficial match against Bhutan and is top of Group A in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.
“We struggled to beat teams in the South East zone and recently we defeated Kyrgyz Republic, which is one of the top teams in Central Asia,” recollects Sandesh Jhingan.
“The FIFA Rankings are a part of the game but they are not as important as being focused or working hard daily. They are just one aspect of the game. If you keep winning games, you FIFA Rank will eventually rise up and that is what we have been doing.”
“It is as simple as that,” Gurpreet jumps in and quips.
Winning is an addiction and perhaps for a footballer that matters more than anything – even the FIFA Rankings itself.