Football is one of the most popular games in India. The game commands a massive fan following across the length and breadth of the country and is the top sport in the states of West Bengal, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim. During the heyday of the Indian football players, the country won some of the most coveted trophies and medal at prestigious international events. However, football in India has lost out to its more illustrious cousin - cricket, in the popularity stakes. The dwindling interest in the once-popular game is an ample reflection of the shabby state of affairs in Indian football.
At a time, when Indian sportspersons are asserting themselves in the world stage and bringing laurels for the country, the Indian football team is languish at the bottom of the world football rankings. The All India Football Federation (AIFF), the governing body in football, introduced the National Football League in 1996, in a bid to raise the standards of the game in India. The effort has met only partial success, due to the lack of a comprehensive package to focus on the fitness and tactical dimensions of the players. However, a wind of change is blowing in Indian football. The AIFF has roped in Bob Houghton as the new manager of the national team and the Englishman is expected to deliver the goods on account of his associations with some top-ranked Asian teams.