The Indian football team has achieved its highest FIFA ranking in 21 years as the side climbed to 101 in the latest list released on Thursday. In the last couple of years, the team has won 11 out of 13 matches (including an un-official match against Bhutan) and scored a total of 31 goals.
Following a couple of wins in recent times, India are now ranked 11th in Asia.
This is the team's best-ever ranking since May 1996 - it was ranked 101 then also. India have jumped 31 places from its last rank of 132nd in the previous month.
The highest FIFA ranking achieved by India ever is 94, which was attained in February 1996. India were ranked 99 in November 1993 and 100 in October 1993, December 1993 and April 1996.
India recently posted a 1-0 victory over Myanmar in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers -- their first-ever in Myanmar in over 64 years.
Before that India's first win in an away encounter in over a decade came when they beat Cambodia 3-2 in an International Friendly.
The 4-1 win at home for India last year against Puerto Rico was also commendable.
India coach Stephen Constantine said:
It has been a difficult road. Bringing in new blood and creating competition for places in the team has been a process, and I’m pleased we are moving in the right direction. It’s been a total team effort. Unless Mr. Patel (AIFF President Praful Patel) and Mr. Das (AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das) allowed me to do the things and the manner I wanted it to be done, this won’t have been possible ever. I also need to thank the support staff for their commitment for the team.
The Indian team, governed by the All India Football Federation, were ranked 171 when Constantine took over as national coach for the second time in February 2015. They had slipped further to 173 in March 2015 in the FIFA ladder.
After that Constantine had his first game in charge against Nepal, which India won 2-0.
India will next play Lebanon in an International Friendly at home on 7 June before hosting Kyrgyz Republic on 13 June in their next AFC Asian Cup qualifier match.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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