India's recent defeats to Guam, Oman and Iran may have been disheartening, but the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) newest technical ranking system is bound is to spread cheer. According to the latest input, India are ranked at 22nd amongst 46 Asian countries and the highest amongst all of its South Asian neighbours.
As per guidelines, the latest ranking methodology by the AFC takes into account the performance of the national team and the clubs in AFC bracket of competitions (AFC Cup and AFC Champions League) over the last four years. 30 per cent of points weightage is handed to the national team whilst clubs' performance in the AFC competitions carries the remaining 70 per cent of allocated marks.It is also to be noted here that the AFC Cup participant teams earn less points than their AFC Champions League participating counterparts. One AFC Cup point carries 1/3 the value of the AFC CL point awarded.
India meanwhile, being ranked at 22nd in the AFC table and 27th best Asian team according to FIFA's rankings, has accumulated a total of 18.636 points. The national team's performances have earned the team 11.951 points whilst clubs performances in the continental competiton have earned the nation a total of 6.685 points. Indian clubs who finish the preceeding season as champions do get the opportunity to play in the AFC CL through a qualifier but generally don't make it through and they are then automatically slotted into the second tier competition. All second placed teams in the I-League have a direct entry into the AFC Cup. Of all the clubs to have participated at the Asian-level, East Bengal are the most predominant having taken part in three of the last four AFC Cups, in 2012, 2013 and 2015. They are followed by Churchill Brothers, now in I-League division two, and most recently Bengaluru FC.