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Denied Asian Games Participation, India Football Coach Writes To PM Modi

With the Indian football team set to miss out on the Asian Games participation for the second season in a row, head coach Igor Stimac has decided to make an emotional plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur. Stimac penned an emotional letter, urging the Indian government to allow the Sunil Chhetri-led side to participate in the continental event. It was earlier reported that the team is unlikely to be sent for Asian Games participation as its current ranking is not among the top 8 sides in Asia.

The criterion has been set by the Sports Ministry of India but the hopes of the government granting an exemption to the Indian football team from the rule haven’t died away yet. Stimac himself has put in a personal request on the matter.

He tweeted, “A humble appeal and sincere request to Honourable Prime Minister Sri @narendramodi ji and Hon. Sports Minister @ianuragthakur, to kindly allow our football team to participate in the Asian games”.

In the tweet, Stimac shared a lengthy note which read: “Honourable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi ji, I am not sure if someone would have briefed you or updated you about the Indian teams participating in the upcoming Asian Games, where the most important and the key global sport “football” team has been deprived from participating and representing the Indian flag.

“India hosted the U-17 FIFA World Cup in 2017 and invested heavily in building a very fine new generation of players. You have always supported India’s dream of playing in FIFA World Cup one day and I am certain that if we have your continuous support in the manner we have received till date, the day is not far when we will be at the global stage participating in the most prestigious tournaments. We as a national team have worked extremely hard in the last 4 years and managed some great results, proving that we can achieve more if we get support from all stakeholders. Your speech about football and Mbappe in your recent visit to France also touched all Indians dreaming and rooting for Indian football.

“I wanted to bring to your immediate attention that our U-17 team from 2017, which also gave a great performance at the U-23 World Cup qualifiers and is one very talented team, is now being deprived of participating in the Asian games. This team really needs and deserves the participation. The reasons given are unjust and as India’s national team coach, I felt it’s important to immediately bring this matter to your and the Hon’ble Sports Minister Anurag Thakur’s knowledge. So that you could intervene and help the team participate in the Asian Games. There are hopes and prayers of 1 billion Indians for the beautiful game and we need such participation. As our ministry is denying participation in the context of ranking. Whereas the fact is that our football team is better ranked than some of the other sports teams which have been allowed participation in the Asian games. Also, history and statistics are testimony to the fact that football is one sport where a lower-ranked team has a chance to beat the top-ranked team.

“So my humble appeal and sincere request on behalf of the entire Indian Football fraternity to you, is to kindly allow our football team to participate in the Asian games A We will fight for our nation’s pride and the flag!”

The Asian Games are scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8. The competitions for the football team will begin on September 19

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