The official symbol of the national soccer team.
India made its Olympic debut in football at the 1948 London Games, but lost 1-2 to France in the first match. In the 1956 Melbourne Olympics India became the first Asian nation to reach the semifinals of an Olympic football event defeating Australia 4-2 inthe quarterfinal. The hallmark of the win was the hat trick by centre forward Neville D'Souza who became the first and until now only Asian to achieve the feat in the Olympics. Between 1951 and 1962, during the golden era of Indian football, India was a major power in Asia having won the football golds in the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games at New Delhi and Jakarta respectively and the bronze medal in tile 1970 Bangkok Asiad. In 2002, India won the LG Cup in Vietnam .India have won the South Asian Football Federation Cup 4 times, in 1993, 1997, 1999 and 2005, but the field features the minnows of Asian football. Image: Neville D'souza: The only Asian to score a hat-trick in the Olympics.
Some unpublicized facts about football in India
In 1911, Mohun Bagan, the oldest football club in India, became the first Indian team to lift the IFA Shield beating the Yorkshire Regiment. This victory of an Indian club over a British outfit gave a major shot in the arm of Indian football and heralded the emergence of other football clubs in different corners of the country.
The victorious Mohun Bagan team with the IFA shield in 1911.
In 1996, the AIFF started the National Football League to give a fillip to club-level competition in the country. In order to grab the top NFL honours, Indian clubs have invested heavily on overseas players and coaches.Football was established as Dalhousie Football Club was formed in 1878. This is contrary to the popular belief that Mohun Bagan is the oldest club in Asia. Most of the early teams formed were British army and military teams.
In 1888, India’s foreign secretary, Sir Mortimer Durand started the Durand Cup in Shimla. This is the oldest tournament in India and has been recognized as the third oldest tournament in the world after the English and Scottish FA Cups.
The Indian team won the inaugural Asian Games football gold. Led by Manna, defeated Iran 1-0 in the final at New Delhi. This was India’s first international trophy. The Helsinki Olympics, that followed, was a disappointment. India lost their only match to Yugoslavia comprehensively 1-10. Playing barefoot in a cold Helsinki did not help playing an strong opponent.
Dear content manager, it'l be great if your site can have well evaluated news articles. The barefoot story is a myth!
India qualified by default for the 1950 FIFA World Cup finals as a result of the withdrawal of all of their scheduled opponents. But the governing body AIFF decided against going to the World Cup, being unable to understand the importance of the event at that time. Reason shown by AIFF was that there was the cost of travel, although FIFA agreed to bear a major part of the travel expenses, lack of practice time, team selection issues and valuing Olympics over FIFA World cup.
Although FIFA imposed a rule banning barefoot play following 1948 Olympics where India had played barefoot. The myth that Indians refused to play because they were not allowed to play barefoot is not entirely true, according to the then Indian captain Shailen Manna, it was just a story to cover up the disastrous decision of the AIFF. The team has never since come close to qualifying for the World Cup.
Source: Wikipedia -
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