Did you know that India qualified for the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil? Indian football is experiencing a resurgence which has made Indian football fans very excited. The history of Indian football is longer than many people know. Mohun Bagan is the oldest club, having been established in the 1890s. Since then, Indian football has undergone ups and downs but is now in a rising trajectory.
India’s national team, the Blue Tigers, have recently improved India’s visibility on the international stage. They qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. The team is also playing for the Asian Cup qualifiers in 2023. India’s improved participation in international football has seen it rise from 108 to 104 in FIFA World rankings. India is also trying for the next FIFA World Cup.
India had the rights to host the 2020 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, but this was cancelled and now India has the right to host the 2022 edition of the tournament. This tournament will further raised the status of India in international football.
India Super League
The India Super League was formed in 2013 and has played a big role in promoting football in its short existence. It is currently the fifth biggest football league in terms of spectators. It is easy to have these numbers in a country of 1 billion-plus people. An estimated 155+ million people follow this league.
The Indian Super League currently has 11 competing teams. It is a mixture of very old clubs like Mohun Bagan, and young clubs like Bengaluru FC, established in 2013. What they all have in common are growing numbers of loyal fans.
These fans have also made a very vibrant sports betting scene. There are several online betting sites, and many more are coming up. If you wanna find the best betting sites in India, then take a look at this website.
These fans have also grown financially, which has enabled them to hire international football talent in players and technical management. A good example is RG Punjab FC head coach Curtis Fleming who played for Ireland and Middlesbrough FC. He was also an assistant coach for Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers.
Which are the most popular Indian Super League clubs?
ATK Mohun Bagan
Mohun Bagan is the oldest football club in India, having started in 1889. This Kolkata based club has been national champions five times in the defunct National Football League. It has also won 14 Federation Cups. Mohun Bagan has amassed over 250 trophies in their long life.
Mohun Bagan recently merged with ATK to become ATK Mohun Bagan. Football fans were surprised by the move, but it brought in new blood in the management. The new outfit ATK Mohun Bagan will be closely watched, seeing as it is that ATK has won the Super League three times.
In its short life since formation in 2013, Bengaluru FC has become perhaps the most talked-about football team in India. They took the I-League title in their maiden year, and again in 2016. They joined the India Super League in 2017 and took the title in the 2018/19 season.
Bengaluru FC have also been impressive in the international front. They have been in the AFC Asian Cup in 2016, 2017, and 2018. They played in the 2016 finals and took the silver medal.
East Bengal Club
This team had their centennial celebrations in 2020. They are from Kolkata and have a well-documented rivalry with Mohun Bagan. The Kolkata derby is the most exciting football event. East Bengal’s most successful period was 2000-2004 when they took three I-League titles.
They have been the most successful Indian team on the international front with eight AFC Asian Cup appearances.
The Blasters have a loyal following in the Yellow Army or ‘Manjappada,’ one of the most loyal fan groups in Indian football. It is a very young team, having started in 2014. But they have been impressive, with top-four finishes in the Indian Super League in 2014 and 2016. They are hoping for a more fruitful season in 2020/21 after a dismal performance in the last season.
This team has managed to impress since its formation in 2014 and win the hearts of millions of followers. They lifted the 2019 Super Cup. They have qualified for the 2021 AFC Champions League and will become India’s first team to the tournament.
India’s football fans are eagerly waiting for the 2020/21 season to pick the pace and hopefully, they can fill the stadiums once again. There is no doubt that the times ahead are exciting for Indian football.