With the world still humming the FIFA song, India is experiencing its own wave of change. The countrymen have yet again started recalling our golden era of 1950-1964; the passion rekindled. India has a warm history of over 150 years with football, with some of the oldest competitions like the Durand Cup (1888) in our name. As the game continues to unite the world and the country, let’s take a look at some of the major Indian football clubs:
1) Mohun Bagan A.C.
Formed in 1889, it is the oldest surviving club of India, as well as among the oldest clubs of Asia. The club plays in I-league, the first professional league of our country. The Kolkata based club has a streak of winnings in its name. It has won the Federation Cup 14 times, with a total trophy count of over 250, the highest by any Indian club. Notably, ‘Captain Fantastic’, Sunil Chhetri also began his professional career here, back in 2002.
2) East Bengal F.C.
With Kolkata forever claiming its title of ‘The hub of Indian Football’, another name falls in the list. Established in 1920, the East Bengal F.C. plays in the I-league. The first club in India to win the NFL title in a double streak, it has ample conquests in its bag. The club is among the major rivals of Mohun Bagan F.C.
3) Bengaluru F.C.
Established in 2013, the club has carved a niche for itself in a short time. Competing in the ISL, it has bagged two titles, even winning one in their debut season. Their most recent feat has been the Super Cup, with two Federation Cups already to their name. The club is considered among the new trendsetters for its professionalism, having players like Chhetri playing for it.
4) Dempo S.C.
Also known as ‘the whites’, the Goa-based club was established in 1968. The club has won five league titles, the highest among Indian clubs. They have won the Rovers Cup four times, defeating Mohun Bagan twice. The club is a major name for the I-league.
5) Minerva Punjab F.C.
The underdogs in I-league, Minerva Punjab has had an ascend to glory since its formation in 2005. They stand as the current defending champions of the I-league, having defeated Dempo S.C., which is notably the most successful club in the league. The club’s first national-level appearance was in the I-league 2nd division, in the 2015-16 season, where they finished as runner-ups.
6) Salgaocar F.C.
Founded in 1956, Salgaocar FC is a professional football club from Goa. Currently playing in the Goa Professional League, the club has 19 GLC cups, one I-league championship among many to its name. It was also the first club from Goa to have won NFL in the 1998-99 season.
7) Chennaiyin F.C.
The current defending champions of Indian Super League, the club was formed in 2014 in the maiden season of ISL. It has since then won the league twice, in 2015, as well as in 2017-18. The club has acquired an impressive fanbase in the recent years, being a part of the famous Southern Derby trio (along with Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters).
8) Aizawl F.C.
The club was formed in the Mizoram in the year 1984. Having entered into I-League 2nd Division in January 2012, they went on to win it in the year 2015. Aizawl FC is the first club from Northeast region to have won an I-league title.
9) Churchill Brothers F.C.
The Goan sports club was established in 1988, known as Varca Club at that time. It was among the original 12 clubs of National Football League, now transformed into the famous I-league. The club has won 2 League championships, 1 Federation Cup, as well as 3 Durand Cups.
10) Jagatjit Cotton & Textile F.C.
JCT F.C., founded in 1971 in Punjab, is considered to be among the well-faring clubs of recent times. In the past 30 years, it has come out as the first club from outside Kolkata to have claimed the IFA Shield in its name. JCT was the inaugural champion of the National Football League back in 1996, winning the Federation Cup in the same year. Till date, this widely popular club has 5 Durand Cups in its hall of fame.
With Indian football showing a promising increase in its fanbase, our second, and perhaps perpetual edition of glory days might be arriving again.