AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: Giving the nation something to cheer about, our eTigers contingent finished 22nd in the latest FIFAe Nations Rankings after their debut season on the world stage. Putting India above heavyweights such as Italy, Argentina and even Spain isn’t enough though for these young eAthletes who insist on taking India to the top five.
India’s first eTigers team consisting of Charanjot Singh (18), Siddh Chandarana (20), Vignesh B (22) and Lokmanyu Chaturvedi (24) remained unbeaten as a squad in all four international friendlies they’ve competed in this season. Gaining valuable points from their ties against Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and South Africa.
What also contributed to their FIFAe Nations Rankings was the impressive showing by duo Charanjot and Siddh at the FIFAe Nations Online Qualifiers 2021. They helped India secure a third-place finish, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the FIFAe Nations Cup, with only the top two teams going through.
Reflecting on the latest world ranking Charanjot said, “Personally I feel great that I had a big part in contributing to India finishing 22nd. Finishing in the top 25 rank, in the whole world, in our inaugural season, shows what we are capable of.”
Siddh, highlighting their record in International friendlies added, “It was our first season and it’s slightly disappointing to not qualify for the eNations Cup but we won all four International friendlies we’ve played, which feels amazing. I’m just grateful to AIFF and all the fans for their support and hopefully we will be better next time."
When asked about the highlight of the entire journey for them, both Siddh and Charanjot had the same answer – beating Saudi Arabia at the FIFAe Nations Qualfier. “Saudi have the no.1 and no. 2 players in West Asia and we won with an aggregate score of 8-2. So to beat them in that manner was the highlight for me,” said Siddh.
Charanjot agreed, “Winning against Msdossary (Former World Champion) 4-1 just gave me a tremendous morale boost for the future tournament and matches.”
For Lokmanyu the chance to represent India came as redemption after a disruptive start to his season, “Being down with COVID for three months I couldn’t compete in the first qualifier of the FIFA Global Series. That put me down mentally. But when the AIFF eFootball Challenge was announced, I was ready for another challenge. Making it to the National Team was special and I cannot wait for the new season to come in to prove again why I’m a part of this team.”
So, what’s next for the eTigers on the World Stage? “I think we should aim to finish among the top 5 so that our country's name is at the top and we get recognized a lot more.” says Vignesh, “FIFA has been coming up slowly in India and it feels great to be a part of it and I want us to keep contributing to create a bigger community.”