End of an Era, Beginning of a Legacy
Yes. European giants Bayern Munich defeated us 4 - 0, which was the lowest the match could dial down to . But when things touch nadir, the saving grace is.....you can only move upwards.
After bearing the burden of four goals in the first half, to gather so much of fortitude and formidability in the next 45 minutes of play is quite commendable. It was really exhilarating to witness a side that looked so intimidated by the Bundesliga 2010 champions, hold fort and display a praiseworthy performance, in the latter half, to keep the scores standing still.
A slew of promising performances were scattered on both the sides. While goalkeeper Karanjit Singh proved the quintessential custodian despite the four goals, the midfield and defense lines sprung to life in the latter 45 minutes and silenced all critics alike. But all-in-all, the day, the moment belonged to none other than Baichung Bhutia. To see a crowd of tens and thousands screaming their lungs out for the Boys in Blue was quite a spectacle for the confines of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Along with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez, Philip Lahm and Franck Ribery, that corner of Delhi resounded with cheers for Bhutia - for the entirety of the match.
Barring any such resurrection in the future,a great career now finally comes to an end. But the main question is: Do we leave Indian football in the lurch for want of another Bhutia.......or do we place our bets on a Chhetri or a Nabi or a Lalpekhlua? Do we wallow in the past or look forward to a bright new sunrise?
The nation looked up to Bhutia throughout the latter half of the '90s and the 2000s. His presence has proved indispensable for the resurgence of Indian football. But, we must not forget that we were, once upon a time, a nation that was touted as Asia's strongest in the field of football. Bringing back the aura of the '50s and '60s is what our playing XI should look forward to.
The journey pre-determined by Indian football has had hurdles galore, many more yet to come. However, such positivity will only keep the flame burning stronger, pushing every budding footballer towards a prosperous and a thriving football scene in the country.
Only a farsighted person will see the bundle of goodies unveiled by the so-called thrashing India received today at the hands of Bayern Munich. For a wise nation such as ours, such failures are and always will be the stepping stones to success.
Arnab Ghosh, a Ph. D. student of the Department of Mathematics, IIT Guwahati, is...