90% of Indian Football players are from just 10 states, a new study reveals

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A recent study has revealed a fascinating trend in Indian football. Despite being a country with a population of over 1.3 billion, a staggering 90% of India’s elite footballers hail from just ten states. This concentration of talent in specific regions provides a unique insight into the development and distribution of football talent in India.

The Geographic Concentration of Indian Football Players

The research, conducted by Richard Hood, a UEFA ‘A’ and AFC Pro licence coach and former head of player development of All India Football Federation (AIFF), found that over 65% of the elite-level footballers come from only five states – Manipur, Mizoram, West Bengal, Punjab, and Goa. These states, despite having a total population of approximately 12.43 crore as per the 2011 Census, have produced a significant portion of India’s top football talent.

When players from Greater Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Meghalaya, and Sikkim are added to the mix, the contribution of these nine states and one city rises to 90% of the country’s elite-level players. This means that just 20% of the country’s population is producing nine out of the ten top players.

The tiny states of Manipur and Mizoram have contributed the most to India’s player pool, accounting for almost 31% of elite-level footballers in the country. They are followed by West Bengal (13.55%), Punjab (11.46%), and Goa (9.71%).

Interestingly, the share of the original powerhouses West Bengal and Goa has fallen sharply over the years. Over 80% of the players who have played for the country since 2002 came from only six states and the city of Mumbai. In contrast, the contribution of other states, especially the Hindi heartland, is close to being nothing.

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