In India, cricket is the most popular game, but football still holds a special place among the sport loving people. India's richness of football heritage is evident from the fact that it hosts one of the oldest football tournaments in the world.
These football tourneys are played all through the seasons where aspiring footballers, from across the country take part to exhibit their class and skills in front of thousands of appreciative and football crazy people.
There are many football tournaments arranged at the regional levels that help to search for the budding talents of football. Sometimes the tournaments are arranged in the school level so that the possible footballer can be trained from the young age. These local tournaments often play a crucial role in a person career. Most of the leading Indian footballers today have come through from the local leagues.
Buladi State League
This tournament includes the best district teams. A total of 19 districts participate in this tournament. In the first phase they were arranged in six groups. The second stage is knock-out phase, which ultimately leads to the final. Supporters for all the teams come from various districts to support their teams and the play ground turns into a festival mode during the course of the tourney.
Buladi Tribal Football Championship
This is the tournament that includes eight districts, four from North Bengal and four from South Bengal. The players are mostly tribal boys. The drive for arranging this tournament is to spot out talented footballers from the tribal belt of the state and bringing them to mainstream football. Apart from this, the endeavour behind arranging this tournament is to create a supply chain of footballers to the higher level.
Durand Cup is one of the oldest tournaments in the world football history. It always had a following right from the pre-Independence days, when British ruled India. The tournament is named after its founder, Sir Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary in charge of India from 1884 to 1894. Having become conscious of the value of sport as a means to maintain health, he decided to present a prize to encourage sporting competition in India.
IFA Shield Tournament
IFA Shield Tournament is one of the oldest football tournaments and the fourth oldest Cup in the world.
Khadim’s -Trades Challenge Cup
It is the first open football tournament in India back to the year 1889. This is one among the oldest tournaments in India. The tournament is immensely popular among the European, American, Indian student community. The participating teams are placed in ten groups of four teams each and played on a single league leg basis. The winner of the each group then competes for the final knock out round of the tournament. The prize money for the champion team is thirty thousand while the runner up team wins rupees fifteen thousand.
Milo-Bankim Cup Inter School Football Tournament
The multinational Giant and producer of MILO brand health drink takes initiative to support the football at the grass root level. Sixty-four school teams from in and around Kolkata participated in this sponsored championship. They were placed in 16 groups of 4 teams each.
Anandamela -Dabur Glucose -D Energy Cup
128 schools from in and around Kolkata participate in this tournament. Dabur and ABP group are the joint sponsors of this tournament, which generates a lot of interest for football in schools. Members of coaches' forum have the goal to hunt talents from the school students to bring them in the mainstream game.
Peerless Nursery Football League
This Nursery Division Football League was introduced with a mission to spot and promote budding talents in football to ensure an uninterrupted supply line for clubs and higher levels of footballs.
Vidyasagar Trophy Inter University Football Knockout Tournament
Vidyasagar Trophy Inter University Football Knockout Tournament is sponsored by smart Reliance. Teams from various colleges and universities take part in this tournament which is held with great honour. This tournament holds great importance among the students as they work hard round the year to build their teams and select proper players to bring this coveted trophy home.
Elegant Under 19 Football League
This football tournament is organized at Siliguri. The sponsor is SPS Group, the manufacturer of Elegant Steel TMT Bar. The young boys from the hill regions of West Bengal participate in this event and make the local people feel proud of their achievements. This tournament is a popular one and often becomes the stepping stone for attaining higher levels and getting recognized.
Subroto Cup is named after the Indian Air Force Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee. Subroto Cup Football Tournament is one of the famous inter-school football tournaments in India. Subroto Cup was started in 1960, with participation of about 50 school teams with even schools from Nepal and Afghanistan participating over the years.
District Tournaments and District Football Development Projects
The various district level tournaments are- S.P.Roy Inter - District Club Championship Football Tournament, Sub-Junior Inter District Football Tournament, Junior Inter District Football Tournament, Senior Inter District Football Tournament, District Long Term Football Coaching Programme and Hill Football tournament.