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 practice, lack of skill and preference of Olympics over FIFA World Cup.
Indian National Football Team from 1952-1970
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.
Women’s Football in India
Women's football in India began from 1970. Now this is accredited by All India Football Federation.
Indian National Football Team in 1984 AFC Asian Cup
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.
Indian National Football Team in 2004 Asia Cup
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.
Indian National Football Team in LG Cup
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.
Indian National Football Team in 2006
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.
Indian National Football Team in 2011
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.
Indian National Football Team in 2017
After having some failed attempt in many international football tournaments, Indian football is now under revive with the advent of Indian Super League. Stephen Constantine is the current coach of Indian National Football Team and Shanmugam Venkatesh is the assistant coach. Rogerio Ramos is the goal keeping coach, Danny Deigan is a sports scientist, Savio Medeira is the AIFF Technical Director.
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 football stadiums which are approved by FIFA are the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata, Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium also in New Delhi, Nehru Stadium in Chennai and Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.