In the Asian football landscape, the men's team holds the 18th rank, while the women's team occupies the 11th position.
The Indian men's and women's football teams have received the green signal from the sports ministry to participate in the upcoming Asian Games, marking their return to the prestigious event after the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea. In the Asian football landscape, the men's team holds the 18th rank, while the women's team occupies the 11th position.
For the men's competition in the forthcoming Asian Games in China, India has been drawn in Group A. The draw appears to be favourable for the 99th-placed Indian men's team, with China (80th) being the only higher-ranked team in their group. The other two teams in Group A are Myanmar (160) and Bangladesh (189). The top two sides from the group stage will advance to the Round of 16.
On the other hand, the Indian women's team finds themselves in Group B at the Asian Games, alongside Chinese Taipei and Thailand. With a world ranking of 60th, the Indian women face a challenging task with Chinese Taipei (37) and Thailand (44) standing in their path.
Initially, there were doubts surrounding the Indian teams' participation in the Games due to the sports ministry's criterion, which stipulated that only teams ranked within the top 8 in Asia should be sent to the Asian Games. While the Indian men's football team ranked 18th in Asia and 99th globally, the women's team secured the 11th spot in Asia and the 60th spot worldwide.
Despite the concerns, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) decided not to send the teams based on the sports ministry guideline. This decision was later appealed by both the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the national team coach, Igor Stimac.
However, thanks to their recent impressive performances, the sports minister, Anurag Thakur, granted a relaxation in the selection criteria, allowing the Indian teams to participate in the prestigious Asian Games, representing their nation with pride.
Over the years, the Indian Men's Team has enjoyed a storied history in the Asian Games, achieving significant milestones. They captured the gold medal in the inaugural edition of the Games in 1951, followed by another top-notch performance with a gold finish in 1962. Additionally, at the 1970 Asian Games, the team secured a bronze medal, further adding to their accolades.