History Of Football In India

While people today might consider Football to have been a popular sport in India during the past few years, it has been present and thrived since the mid-nineteenth century. First introduced by British soldiers, the games were initially played between army teams. Now, Football can be seen being played all across India, from streets to parks and stadiums. Fans of the sport watch their favorite teams play on the TV and often show their undying support. 

The trend of Football clubs came to the country soon, starting with Calcutta FC in 1872. Shortly after that, Calcutta became the hub of Indian Football. Tournaments like Gladstone Cup, Trades Cup, and Cooch Behar Cup were also started around this time. The Durand Cup and IFA Shield were both launched in the late nineteenth century.

Even though the IFA (Indian Football Association) was established in 1893, it did not have a single Indian on the board until the 1930s. It took almost a decade for the current All India Football Federation (formed in 1937) to get affiliated with FIFA. Indian players insisted on playing barefoot when other nations played in boots. 

Following the 1948 Olympics, FIFA imposed a rule banning barefoot play. A popular myth states that Indians refused to play because they were not allowed to play barefoot is not entirely true, and was just a story cover up the disastrous decision of the AIFF. 

During what is considered as the Golden Phase of Indian football, 1951 to 1962, India won several tournaments such as Asian Games 1951 (Gold Medal). In 1956, after agreeing to play with boots, India reached the semi-final in Melbourne Olympics football, becoming the first Asian country. In 1962, India again picked up the football gold medal in the Asian Games.

Ever since the 2011 Asian Cup, the All India Football Federation has been working very hard on Indian Football. For instance, they allowed former coach Bob Houghton coach the Indian side in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. After going first in there AFC Challenge Cup group, Bob Houghton was sacked and replaced by Wim Koevermans. Meanwhile, the India national under-23 football team won the first round of the 2012 Olympics qualifiers against Myanmar but were knocked out by Qatar. 

India played their next official matches against the United Arab Emirates in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which India lost on aggregate 5–2.

In 2014, India hosted the first-ever Unity World Cup in Goa, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. India participated for the first time in FIFA U-17 World Cup as hosts in the 2017 edition of the tournament. This was the first time that a team representing India participated in the finals of a FIFA-organised world tournament. India was placed in Group A along with the U.S.A, Ghana, and Columbia. 

On 6 October 2017, India played their first-ever match in FIFA U-17 World Cup history in front of 47,000 people against the United States. But unfortunately, India lost the game by 3–0. India played their second match against Colombia. In 82nd minute Jeakson Singh became the first Indian goal scorer in the finals of any FIFA organized tournaments. For the third match of the group stage, India faced Ghana where they went down to lose 4–0, finishing bottom of the group A. 

Recently in 2018, Indian Football has reached another level by defeating Argentina U20 2–1 in 2018 Cotif Cup and Iraq U16, the defending champions of AFC U-16 Championship by 1–0.

The Sports School strives to provide our students with a curriculum covering all strands of the sport, with the practical focus being the development of performance skills in Football. The Sports School Football Academy with Bengaluru FC offers comprehensive programs for Professional Football Coaching with experienced Coaches licensed by AFC and AIFF. Bengaluru FC’s Youth Development program helps players of each age group, develop and play competitive Football.

Football Program at The Sports School

Regardless of whether you call it football or soccer, it’s a sport with massive global appeal and fan interest, and in India, Football has seen a spike in popularity in the past few years. With the emergence of ISL & other prominent leagues, young talent opportunities to participate in the sport and build a career in the same has also risen. The popularity of football worldwide makes it an exciting sport to watch and participate in.

The Sports School Football Academy with BFC Soccer Schools provides aspiring footballers with world-class training to reach the next level. At The Sports School campus, we offer a Professional Football Coaching Program with experienced coaches licensed by AFC and AIFF. The monitoring and evaluation of the student’s performance are done by the Head of Youth Development and BFC Youth Academy coaches.

Competitive and friendly match opportunities on a regular basis are arranged with quality opponents, and talented students also get a chance to play at the BFC Youth Academy teams. The Bengaluru FC Grassroots / Youth Development program is the first step in a young aspiring footballer’s career. Students will also be provided with Sports Science expertise (Strength & Conditioning, Nutrition, and Injury Prevention concepts).

Here are some highlights of the program:

  • Coaches Licensed by the AIFF or AFC, following the footsteps of their first club – Bengaluru FC
  • Youth Development program for players of each age group
  • At each level, each child gets the opportunity to play competitive games in the BFC Soccer Schools Super League
  • Students get a chance to be child mascots at Bengaluru FC’s Indian Super League and AFC Cup games
  • Regular interaction with professional footballers, including Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Specific details of the programs are mentioned below: 

Beginner (Age group- U12/12): 

  • Fun Activities
  • Basic Skills
  • Kicks
  • Running with Ball

Intermediate (Age group- U15/16):

  • Position Training
  • Advanced Skills
  • Game Analysis
  • Team Practice
  • Mini Ground Matches
  • Mental Conditioning
  • Tournaments

Advanced (Age group- U15/16):

  • Strength & Stamina
  • Advanced Skills
  • Mental Conditioning
  • Tournaments

To provide unique learning opportunities to our students for leveling up their skills in football and to develop and enhance their knowledge in the sport, we have partnered with Bengaluru Football Club. 

Bengaluru Football Club forayed into the sport and has been contributing to putting India on the footballing world map. Bengaluru Football Club came into the scene with a successful debut season in which the team won the I-League in the 2013-14 season. Bengaluru FC also represented India in Asian competition, first in the playoff round of the AFC Champions League and then in the AFC Cup, becoming the first-ever Indian club to make it to the final of the AFC Cup. Bengaluru FC has drawn praise for bringing a new sense of professionalism to Indian football, including the use of on-field equipment meant to help player fitness.