DATA SCIENCE – The New Adrenaline for Indian Football

In January 2018,Liverpool sold one of its best player Coutinho and bought Dijk & Gallacher,thus history was made where Liverpool in the English football tournament Premier League (EPL) were unbeaten 64 matches at home breaking their own 40-year-old record. The team’s director of research, Ian Graham, used Data Science to assist the team to make this decision and many others that led to the dominance of Liverpool in the EPL. This is one of the best examples of how data science quantified a game deemed as non quantifiable as football, and took a failing team to it’s never before achieved glory. Hence, data science can play a vital role in the improving a club’s future and entire the future football as well.

Probability of not having a good team among 1.2 billion people seems highly unlikely, but is the fact of India. The first football club of India being established well before a club like Liverpool, still has to go a long way to meet ends with other clubs such as Liverpool. But why is it so? Why has the country that is omnipresent in the top tier of almost every fields, not managed to make its mark in the world’s biggest sport ‘FOOTBALL’? One of the major problem is a hurdle that is shared by other areas as well i.e lack of proper facilities.

According to the world bank,1 out of every 5 Indian is below the poverty line, so one doesn’t think about sports, let alone football, when he/ she is worried about finding food to eat for dinner. Then what about the remaining 4? The other issue that is hampering Indian football is that, the way education system and society functions in India.

Textbooks are considered as the only way of gaining knowledge and children are not getting exposed to E.C.A and the beautiful game of football. Also, a sustainable life is comparatively easy to have in India if one has a basic collage degree or formal education, so people emphasize in doing a normal job rather than a physically challenging sport like football.


Even though, if everything is just right and children are interested to play football, lack of proper trainers, football grounds, and hesitant parents make it more challenging for football to get a grip in the budding talents of India. The next simple and logical reason is lack of interest in the game and the assumption that entire population is so consumed in cricket that it barely notices any other sport. True but not in its entirety.

Cricket has embedded itself into the Indian tradition from being played to be seen as equals to the British Colonials in earlier India to hosting one of the biggest sporting event in the world(IPL), cricket has surely came a long way and is emotionally connected to the citizens of India.


This is a what football doesn’t have. Although, players like Bhaichung Bhutiya and Sunil Chhetri have made their mark in the hearts and minds of Indian people, it is not enough to kickstart a successful football frenzy. The other minor reason is also the genetics and the body built of the Indian people. Football which requires physical toughness just as much as skill, a game like cricket on the other hand, much like Golf is mostly based on skill and even there when power-play is required(fast bowling per say), India is not as good as other countries. But this can surely be improved by proper training and dietary plans.


Nevertheless, The football scene in India is ever changing and is seeing more love and support from its people. Almost 51% more viewers were recorded in the 2019-20 season of the biggest football league in India, Indian Super League(ISL),and this percentage will grow more, say the data analyst. Data science, if used to its full potential, will play a vital role in boosting the development of football here in India. To solve a specific problem one need to first recognize what the problem is. The obstacles mentioned in the earlier paragraph are the major problems that cannot be solved in a day and needs equal participation of both the government and the people. But there are some small problems that can be solved easily and can be identified properly by data science. Children, youths and adults that are more reluctant towards football could be categorized with the help of data science which will help to know why they’re reluctant and how to change the views of such reluctant people. Football is not widely present in India. Mostly the far north and east region of India is engaged in football.

Data science can help to identify the least likely places for football in India and a certain body could spread awareness in such places about football. Not only that, data science could also help to find the most favorable places for football; Bengaluru, Kolkata, North East, Odisha, etc. and make a strategy based on data that will make people even more passionate about football.

Data science will also aid the planner to reach more locally and connect to more people by providing it with marketing advice according to the demographics of people.

‘Being at the right place at the right time’, is essential for anything and football has yet to find it’s golden hour in India. ISL happening quickly after IPL has to stay under the brightness of IPL. People are are not likely to watch another event so quickly as the exhaustion of IPL is not over yet. Data science will be able to find the golden hour when such tournaments must be taken to get highest number of viewership’s.

The location will also help bring the highest number of people who will come to the stadium or see it through broadcast. Not only that data science will also help to bring in more sponsors to the tournaments that will make the tournaments bigger & better with increase in the prize pool that will not just attract new viewers but also encourage new players to join the football stream.

Not only that data science will also help to bring in more sponsors to the tournaments that will make the tournaments bigger & better with increase in the prize pool that will not just attract new viewers but also encourage new players to join the football stream and win many prizes.

Data science can also be of assistance in marketing of the clubs merchandise and its brand name. More the club sells merchandise and more it becomes famous, the richer the club gets and can invest more money for the betterment of the players. This will for sure be a spark in the field of football and taking football from a game to something much more bigger.


But still the main aspect of football is 22 players on the ground, who are determined to win and are willing to do anything for that goal. So entertainment is also one of the major factors that we should take under consideration. And entertainment is created when all of the teams are best and there is slim margin of difference between each team performance. This can be achieved through data science. Data science can help a team  determine which player to take and whom not to take by looking at the player data and only choosing the best players, thus making team the best. If all of the team do the same with the help of data science then it will be a very exciting and entertaining event. New talents are one of the most important aspect of football where they are the future of the sport. So recognizing these new talents are essential for growth of a football team, country and the entire sport. Using different modules and algorithms data science can identify a players’ capability of scoring, passing, shooting, running, overall performance and gave them proper training and good opportunities for such talents to grow and show their abilities.

Talking in the international level Indian players fall short from the players of countries like Spain, Germany, Brazil, etc. This is because every step of these players are closely monitored; from their sleeping, to workouts, to practice session,


which are different metrics(attributes) to a data scientist who will then use various tools and programs to calculate a players optimal time to perform and give direct suggestions to the manager and the coaches.

This too can be done in India and if done properly will help the players to realize there strength and weaknesses and enabling them to practice better and perform better in their games.

In conclusion, football being the second most popular sports in India, will surely find a way to emerge gracefully in the national and the international scenario. This process is gradual but can be amplified by the help of technology, especially data science. As the world and the time evolves into a technological era, proper and effective use of technology should be utilized in the field of football as well. All of the data collected from various sources are telling us a story and it is the job of data science to find it’s moral and summarize it for the people who will then contemplate it in their games and their problems to hopefully tackle all the hurdles and emerge victorious.



Mahotsav Bhattarai

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