Earlier this month, India, under the stewardship of Igor Stimac, topped their group to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup Finals for a second successive season. They started their campaign with a 2-0 win over Cambodia, secured a hard-fought 2-1 win over Afghanistan, and then thrashed Hong Kong 4-0. 

While Stimac’s tactical astuteness did play a crucial role, it recently came to light that an astrology company was paid Rs. 16 lakh to make the stars aligned in the national team’s favour. 

Top officials maintained that they have hired ‘motivators’ for the much-awaited Asian Cup Qualifiers. However, after a preliminary investigation, it came to light that the amount was paid to an astrology company based out of South Delhi. 

“A motivator was appointed for the National team ahead of the Asian Cup. Later on, it came to light that the company which was engaged was an astrological firm,” a team insider told PTI.

In a bizarre twist, the top officials of AIFF maintained that the astrology company has taken three sessions with the team to boost their morale, but none of the players have even heard of it. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has asked the finance department to stop the installments.

Tanumoy Bose, a former Indian goalkeeper, lashed out at the officials for their financial dealings that will further tarnish the image of Indian football. 

“The CoA (which is running the show in AIFF after the suspension of president Praful Patel) must go deep into this appalling incident and find out who all are responsible behind it. There are many scams waiting to see the light of the day,” said Bose. 

The astrologer debacle is just the latest in a long string of negligence, mismanagement, and selfishness of political bigwigs attached to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) – especially its ex-chief Praful Patel, who was ousted by the Supreme Court this year following years of ineligible presidency.

India will return to fight for the AFC Asian Cup in 2023.

Featured Image: AIFF