Saturday 23 October 2010

Building a Culture, Bridging a Gap - Gather the Mass for the Mass Sport


Culture, every nation has its own unique way of presenting themselves and the same can be applied to sports. The challenges of a developing nation are plenty and one such for India is to build a sporting culture. To build a culture, there needs to be a sense of belonging. A little effort in the form of tiny drops must agglomerate in making an ocean. We have a population which can be used to harness the support for the athletes. One such initiative is for the game of football in India.

India will be participating in the forthcoming Asia Cup, held at Qatar, 2011. Mahesh Reddy, a sports management graduate from Lausanne, Switzerland, has launched an interactive fan support website to gather goodwill messages for the Indian football team.
His campaign titled “Ji Le India” is all about collecting the support in the form of messages from different parts of the country. India currently ranked 144th (latest FIFA rankings) requires a support system in order to revive the state of the game. Having involved heavily in cricket, Mahesh realises the importance of upbringing other mass sports such as football into the market. I had three simple questions to him related to his project:
What was the motive behind Ji Le?(MR) - The FANS of any sports team play a massive role in influencing the performance of the team in a game. The encouragement and support provided by fans during the thick and thin of a national side goes a long way in restoring confidence amongst the players and helps in bringing out the best in them. In an attempt to provide the Indian players with as much support as possible to excel at the 2011 Asia Cup Championship in Qatar, the Ji Le team intends to attempt a feat that has not been done ever before.
What are you doing as part of the Ji Le Campaign?
(MR) - “Ji Le” is an interactive community driven exercise to garner support for the Indian Football Team competing at the 2011 Asia Cup Championship in Qatar. Ji Le will be a completely unique and one of its kind initiatives featuring fan support through videos, hand written messages, photos, on the spot competitions and many other unconventional methods. Emphasis will be not only be on garnering as much support as possible but also to do it in the most unique form. Ji Le India will by far be an unparalleled show of fan support in the history of Indian Football.
What legacy do you intend to leave behind?
(MR) - Legacies are left behind by events that are over and done with. We at JI LE INDIA do not believe in being just a one off spark in the wilderness. We rather wish to be the spark that has the potential to ignite a raging wild fire that can bring down with it all the negatives attached to Indian Football and hopefully bring in the much needed transformation not only in the minds of the administrators but more so in the minds of the 1.2 billion odd Indian citizens. Ji Le India will be an ongoing campaign to foster as much support as possible to the Indian Football fraternity with the only change being that it would take different avatars to suit different needs!
This initiative is first of its kind in India for football. Football, being a globally renowned sport definitely needs a revamp in the second most populated country. Collective effort is necessary to make this happen and one such endeavour is Ji Le.

The website - http://www.jileindia.com/ was launched in the third week of September and so far managed to register 1300 fan messages in the form of text, photos and videos.
With the Asian Cup football scheduled in January, expect the support numbers to grow. After a gap of 26 years, Indian football team will arrive in Qatar to participate in the XV Asian Cup football.
The best showing from the Indian team dates back to 1964 where they finished second, behind Israel. Israel then was part of Asian football Confederation (AFC) till the early 1970’s before they were expelled and now currently part of UEFA.
With many of the fans having expressed their support through Ji Le campaign, its the turn for the Indian football team to live the dream of their supporters. Ji Le India
Building a Culture, Bridging a Gap is a forum to share some of the initiatives taken by indiviuals for the development of Indian sports.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot for the article Rajan. Your time and efforts are highly appreciated.