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When Indians decide to play football like big boys...

Well it's not sad! For example they are players (Peter Biaksangzuala) who manage to kill themselves by making a somersault to celebrate their goal:

It hurts.

In a nutshell, just a year ago (October 21, 2013), Bollywood stars, retired cricket players and industrialists, for a reason that is unknown to me, decided to launch the Indian Football League (ISL or Indian Super League). With at the head of the project Mrs Ambani (wife of the industrialist head of Reliance Group, the richest man of India if not the world).

There are 8 teams and I have compiled below a few statistics and data (average age, number of foreign players, owners) and I also compared to the Ligue 1, the french Championship, to get an idea of what the numbers mean! Like that, before stupidly repeating that this is a competition of grandpas, I see that there are just 2 and a half year gap in the age difference average. But it is true that the guest stars are quite not young...

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2 other articles I wrote on football in India: On feminine football (link); Indians and football (link)


Indians and football

At the hour of the football World Cup, let's have a look at the Indian football prowesses...

 So you may know it or not but India does have a national football team! Created in 1937, affiliated to the FIFA since 1948 and currently ranking... 154th (out of 207)! india,sport,football,world cup,shoes

In the sixties, Indians were actually among the top 3 of Asian teams. They even qualified in 1950 for the World Cup (in Brazil) but refused to participate, at the last minute. It is unclear why, the inadequate foreign exchange reserves, the long journey by ship, the obligation to wear... shoes (obviously the only reason which has been retained in the popular imagination)!

 Some Indians do watch football on TV – but almost only matches of English teams (a side effect of the colonization) are broadcast...

 Anyway, Indians and sport is not really a love story...




Turtle Feet book: "India, the country where nonsense is the norm"

I recently read a book, Turtle Feet, by Nikolai Grozni. The author, a pianist prodigy, narrates the four years he spent in Dharamsala (the place in the Indian Himalayas where the Dalai Lama found exile). Though I got completely lost whenever he tried to explain Buddhist philosophy, I found it very interesting – another kind of experience you can have in India!

And I like this quote:

“[…] India,” I said, pointing at another road sign that read “Slow down! The life that you save might or might not be your own!” “I’ve never been to a country where nonsense is the norm. It’s like a big joke – life, death, rebirth, Enlightenment – it all amounts to nothing, a play on words, a crazy puzzle that can never be solved. No wonder they came up with the idea of maya, or illusion, you know. In the West things are taken seriously. Life is a serious matter. Eating is a serious matter. Tomorrow is a serious matter. Here I can finally breather: there is no pressure to stay alive! Whatever happens is okay. Dying is okay, begging is okay. I don’t have to plot my life. I can sit back and actually enjoy it.” 

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Turtle Feet, Nikolai Grozni (page 41), 2009