The answer to the question is yes! it is worth noticing the progress that the national team has made over the past couple of years both on the ranking scale as well as on the performance scale, good things have happened but looking at the bigger picture it is safe to say that all of this could be premature and getting over-ambitious could be the last thing India as a footballing nation needs. It’s been stated many a times before about the FIFA rankings not being the right parameter to judge sides, well it’s hard to disagree given the changes and the trends on the pitch have not exactly matched for certain sides in the past. The fact that the Indian team jumped 23 places in the rankings without actually kicking a ball from September to January is a testament to the question being discussed above. The jump in the rankings certainly does a lot of good to a side’s morale on the pitch but in no way defines the side’s credibility on the pitch. The Indian side is currently ranked above the likes of Oman, Iraq and Korea DPR which does not mean that they are by any means better than any of these teams not to mention Oman had the better of India both times during the World Cup qualifiers.
Perhaps a better way of seeing and judging a team’s jumps and slides is through their performance trends over the last couple of International rounds, not only do they gives us result oriented results but accurately tell a team’s form over a period of time. Going by the trends, the Indian side have done very well over the past year and a half, winning six of their last eight games with the last defeat coming to Turkmenistan back in March of last year. The wins might not be against the strong oppositions everyone would hope for but they are important victories and small steps to participating in major continental competitions.
The Asian Cup of 2019 is the next goal for the National side and winning the qualification group would be ideal for this side which seems to do well when it has a good run behind it, a friendly against the 137th ranked Lebanon which will be followed by a qualifier tie against Kyrgyzstan are the next games the team play next. Both pretty important games as it gives the national side a chance to continue the fine run of form the side has had, wins in qualifying campaign collect thrice the amount of points the friendlies do meaning that further jumps could be possible in the coming months.