News of the death of former Indian football captain and legendary player Shreyas Agnihotri is not the only one to hit the headlines in recent weeks.
In the last few days, India’s national team has suffered a spate of serious injuries, including that of South Africa’s Tebow, whose death was announced on Tuesday after he fell while playing the final of a World Cup qualifying match against New Zealand.
It is the second death of a former player in two weeks, and one that further highlights the problems in the country’s youth development system.
The India Football Association said in a statement on Thursday that Tobias Agnihoti had died on Tuesday (local time) after he fell during a match in Sri Lanka.
“Tobis Agnihotti was born on February 10, 1956 in Kolkata and played his entire career in the Indian National Football Team,” the statement read. Agnihotti was also the first Indian to win a national championship, winning a World Club Cup in 2004.
His resume features more world-class players than any Indian in history. He was an international all-rounder and world champion in the international game, winning the title of all time leading scorer in the 1992 World Cup.
Tibor Agnihotta, another former Indian international, died on March 7 in Bengaluru, the state capital, after being murdered by his estranged wife.
Earlier in March, Former Indian captain Shashi Tharanga was shot dead in Mumbai.
A week earlier, Indian footballer Shanabh Pant lost his life in Pune, in a road accident when he was travelling on a motorcycle near his home.
Tharanga’s death was ruled as a homicide by the Mumbai police.
Indian football has been on the back foot since November, when India finished in second place in the World Cup qualifiers for the 2019 Indonesian Football League season, but the recent spate of suspensions and injury related deaths has added to the pressure.
Despite this, Sree Narayanan, India’s director of sports, said on Thursday that the Indian soccer community was “totally resilient”.
“The fact that there are two deaths, one of them a society person of god, shows that the people of India are resilient and will not give up, despite all the adversity,” he said.
Narayanan also said that the national football league had been granted a new constitution in 2020.
But, he said that a change in the organisation was necessary.
India will be able to compete with the best countries in the world in 2021 and have a good chance of making its world record in the 2019 World Cup, Narayanana said.
On Thursday, the India Cricket Association (ICA) released a statement that said “A few few few” players have fallen while playing in international tournaments and there is no reason for the national football team to continue playing at the moment.
“However, there is no doubt that we have to make changes in the national team.
We will look at the current results and make sure that our players do not recover.
However, this is a long term process and we will take action when needed.”
The Indian team is currently in the World Cup Qualifiers against Africa and England, and will face the United States in June 2019, a team that also lost its captain, Shahid Afridi, on January 14.
According to AAP, a spokesman for India and ICA said the ICC would take steps to improve their professional conduct.
Read more here: Indian cricket team’s woes hit a new low on Thursday