Football in India has a long and detailed history, as it was once the national sport. His motivation was to unify the Indian Army. There is evidence of inter-team refereeing of football games played in the Indian Army since at least 1949. India is home to some of the oldest football clubs in the world, and the third oldest competition in the world is the Durand Cup. There was a time when football was much celebrated in India. The Indian football organization was called the “Brazilians of Asia”. India Football History.

YearAll Years

1950 FIFA World Cup

India qualified for the finals of the 1950 FIFA World Cup by default as a result of the withdrawal of all their scheduled opponents. But the governing body AIFF decided against participating in the World Cup due to its inability to understand the importance of the event at that time. Reasons cited by the AIFF were travel expenses, although FIFA agreed to bear a large portion of the travel expenses, lack of practice time, team selection issues, and the FIFA World Cup being held at the Olympics. Giving importance.

Although FIFA banned playing barefoot after the 1948 Olympics where India played barefoot, it is suggested that the Indian team refused to play because they were not allowed to play barefoot. According to the then Indian captain Sailen Munna, it was invented for concealment. The team did not advance past the first round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers until 2018 when they defeated Nepal 2–0 over two home and away games.


The period from 1951 to 1962 is considered to be the golden era of Indian football. Under the mentorship of Syed Abdul Rahim, India became the best team in Asia. The Indian team began the 1950s with victory in the 1951 Asian Games which they hosted. India beat both Indonesia and Afghanistan 3-0 to reach the final where they beat Iran 1-0.

In 1952, India continued their form by winning the Colombo Quadrangular Cup held in Sri Lanka. It is called the golden age of Indian football. As recently as four years ago, several players in the team played without shoes, but after the results in the Olympics, the AIFF immediately made wearing shoes mandatory.

Asian Games

India participated in the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo, Japan where they finished fourth, and second in the 1959 Merdeka Cup in Malaysia. The team started in the 1960 Asian Cup qualifiers in which they failed to qualify. India won the 1962 Asian Games where they defeated South Korea 2–1 in the final, and two years later finished second in the 1964 Asian Cup which was held in a round-robin format. And India played the Merdeka Cup in 1964, 1965, and 1966 where they finished second, third and third respectively.

India won gold medals in both 1984 (in Dhaka) and 1987 SAF Games. They won the first SAARC Cup in Lahore in 1993 and were runners-up in Colombo two years later. By 1997, the competition was renamed the SAFF Cup, and India won it in both the 1997 and 1999 editions when it was hosted in Goa.

India got a big boost in 1996 when the All India Football Federation formed the National Football League. It was India’s first national domestic league.

2004 Asian Cup

Although India failed to qualify for the 2004 Asian Cup, the senior team won silver at the inaugural Afro-Asian Games, with victories over Rwanda and Zimbabwe. Lost 1-0 in the final. As a result of Uzbekistan, Indian football has steadily gained greater recognition and respect within the country and abroad. In November 2003, the then-Indian coach Stephen Constantine was name AFC Manager of the Month.

India lost to Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 2003 SAFF Cup, and defeat in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers meant Stephen Constantine was sack. Winning the LG Cup in Vietnam under Stephen Constantine was one of the few bright spots in the early 2000s. It was India’s first victory in a football tournament outside the subcontinent since 1974. India beat hosts Vietnam 3-2 in the final despite trailing 2-0 after 30 minutes.

Indian Coach

Syed Naeemuddin was appoint as the Indian coach in 2005 but was promptly sack the following year after a heavy defeat in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. The well-traveled and experienced coach Bob Houghton was later appoint as the team’s coach in 2006. Under Houghton, India saw a huge revival in world football.

In August 2007, the Indian national team won the Nehru Cup for the first time in its history, defeating Syria 1–0. And in August of the following year, India defeated Tajikistan 4–1 to win the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup and, as a result, qualified for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. In August 2009, India won the Nehru Cup in Syria again but this time on penalties (6–5).

Indian National Football Team

Club-wise, Indian football took a turn for the better as the National Football League was launch in 2006 and the all-new I-League in 2007. The first season of the I-League won by Goa club Dempo. Dempo made history during the 2008 AFC Cup when they reached the semi-finals of the AFC Cup before losing to Safa Beirut SC.

East Bengal F.C. Club of Kolkata won the ASEAN Club Championship in 2003. India Football History.

AFC Asian Cup

At the start of 2011, India participated in the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 27 years. India has been place in Group C along with Australia, Bahrain, and South Korea. On 10 January 2011, India played their first match against Australia where they lost 4–0. Then on 14 January 2011, India played Bahrain. Where they again lost 5–2 with scores from Sunil Chhetri and Goramangi Singh. India Football History.

Then on 18 January 2011, India played their last match of the tournament. Against South Korea where they again lost 4–1. Sunil Chhatri was the goalscorer for India which means he scored the most goals for India in the tournament with two goals in three matches. For more details click here