India rise to the 96th spot in FIFA rankings

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India rise to the 96th spot in FIFA rankings

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SportsCafe Desk

07/06/2017

The Indian football team has risen to the 96th spot in the recent FIFA rankings released in July which was their highest ever since February 1996 and their second highest overall in the history of the game. India's best ranking continues to be 94 which they had achieved in November 1993.

The Indian national football team continued to rise in the FIFA rankings with consistent performances in recent competitions gaining 77 places in a span of two years. The team has won 13 of their last 15 games and remain unbeaten in the last eight games they have played, including an unofficial match against Bhutan that helped them achieve the feat. 

India were ranked 171 before Stephen Constantine took charge of the side in February 2015 and the Men in Blue further slipped to 173 in March before Constantine could even supervise the team in his first match as the coach against Nepal which they won 2-0. 

All India Football Federation(AIFF) President Praful Patel congratulated the team on their success.

"It's a giant leap of faith for Indian Football. Two years back, we were 173 and now we have reached our second best FIFA Ranking ever. The leap signifies the potential of Indian Football. Congratulations to the National Team boys, the Coach, the staff and all in AIFF," Patel told TOI.

Kushal Das, the General Secretary, All India Football Federation (AIFF), stated, "This comes as a huge boost ahead of our next AFC Asian Cup qualifying match against Macau on September 5, 2017. Hats off to the Team for giving it their all in achieving this milestone. Qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 stays our top priority."

Constantine expressed his happiness on India reaching the historic mark but warned that the ranking doesn't mean the team has achieved much.

"When I took over, I had mentioned that my target was to bring India below 100. I am happy to have played a small part in this process. Kudos to the boys, the staff and a big thank you to my colleagues in AIFF for supporting us all throughout. I also need to thank Mr. Patel and Mr. Das for their trust in allowing me to do things in the manner I wanted," Constantine said.

"But the present FIFA spot doesn't mean that we have achieved much. We need to stay focused on the upcoming challenges," he added.

The Indian team stands 12th in the AFC rankings and is eyeing a qualification spot in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 which would be India's second stint in the competition in 8 years after their previous appearnece at the same tournament in Doha in 2011.

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