(Last Updated on : 25/06/2013)
Indian National football team is governed by AIFF or All India Football Federation
. It is a proud member of Asian Football Confederation. AIFF, which became founder member of Asian Football Confederation in 1954, has been an affiliated member of FIFA, international governing body for football, since 1948. When the Indian team was at the peak of their form, they were picked up for the World Cup championship during the 1950 and 1960. The team however, did not make it the tournaments due to high cost of travel, lack of practise, team selection, and refusal to play bare foot and their prioritizing Olympics over FIFA World Cup. The football team won two Asian Games and also held the record for best performance by Asian Team.
History of Indian National Football Team
In the late 1930s the Indian football team started to tour Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. With tremendous success of the several Indian football clubs
AIFF or All India Football Federation was formed in the year 1937. Indian team's first major tournament was the London Olympics in the year 1948. Indian team players, who played bare footed, fought hard against France but lost the match by 2-1 margin, failing to convert two penalties.
By default, due to withdrawal of all of their scheduled opponents, India qualified for 1950 FIFA World Cup. But the AIFF declined to go for World Cup due to costly travel expenses, lack of practise, lack of skill and preference of Olympics over FIFA World Cup.
The span of time between 1951 and 1962 is considered to be as the golden era of Indian football. Under Syed Abdul Rahim India reached great heights in Indian football circuit. The team started its campaign in 1951 with a win in Asian Games which was hosted in India. Later that year India participated in the Olympics and lost to Yugoslavia with a margin of 10-1. India finished second in 1954 Asian games held in Manila, and finished fourth in 1956 Olympics.
In 1962 Indian football team won the Asian Games where they defeated South Korea 2-1 in the final match. Two years later in 1964, Indian football reached great heights where the team won AFC Asian Cup and finished as runners up thanks to then manager Harry Wright. India won there first match against South Korea 2-0, and then lost 2-0 to the hosts Israel then won 3-1 against Hong Kong which gave India second in the tournament.
The performance of the Indian football team went downhill after the Asian Cup, as they failed to perform well in many qualification tournaments as well. Out of the blue, due to a remarkable performance India managed to qualify to the 1984 AFC Asian Cup after about 20 years out of the cup. But during the competition India failed to make any impact and was unable to qualify to the Asian Cup for the next 27 years.
Despite failing to quality for 2004 Asia Cup, the senior team however did well by winning a silver medal in the inaugural Afro Asian Games, with victories over Zimbabwe and Rwanda (then 85 places ahead of India in the world rankings) along the way, losing the final by just 1-0 to Uzbekistan.
Due to this, the Indian football team earned tremendous appreciation and respect both nationally and internationally. In the early part of 2000s the LG Cup win against Vietnam, under Stephen Constantine was a glorious feature in Indian football. After 1974, it was the first win by the team outside the sub continent. In November 2003, then India coach Stephen Constantine was named AFC Manager of the Month.
Bob Houghton was appointed as the coach of Indian football team in the later part of 2006. With his appointment as the Indian football coach, the team saw great success. The Nehru Cup victory in 2007 was a glorious phase of Indian football. Houghton along with the then Captain Baichung Bhutia
, in August 2008, led India to the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup title as they defeated Tajikistan 4-1. This win helped India, for the first time since 1984, to qualify for 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Under Bob India won the 2009 as well.
In the year 2011, Indian football team kick started their campaign by taking part in 2011 AFC Asian Cup for which they qualified after 24 years. India lost all three matches but managed to perform well in patches.
Home Stadium of Indian National Football Team
Till date the Indian Football Team does not have a permanent stadium. There are quite a few football grounds in the country, but it does not meet the guidelines set by the FIFA and AFC.
The stadiums which are approved by FIFA are the Salt Lake Stadium
, Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi
, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium also in New Delhi, Nehru Stadium in Chennai
, Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune