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By Rishi Iyengar
July 10, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the Indian soccer team—currently sitting at 156th spot in the global rankings—to play soccer powerhouse and five-time World Cup winners Brazil, currently ranked 6th.

He also wants India to meet the other nations comprising the BRICS bloc of emerging economies on the soccer field.

“India could host a football event next year,” Modi said at the ongoing BRICS summit in Ufa, Russia, on Thursday, according to the Times of India.

Whatever Modi’s intentions behind suggesting the event and volunteering to organize it, demonstrating India’s sporting prowess cannot be one of them. India recently lost to 174th-ranked Guam — a Pacific island nation of less than 200,000 people — in a recent World Cup qualifying match.

Among the other BRICS nations, 2018 World Cup hosts Russia are 28th, and South Africa (which hosted the 2010 World Cup) is at 70 followed by China at 77.

It remains to be seen whether Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff or her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will offer to host a cricket tournament to balance things out, but until then India should probably start practicing.

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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