In these days, 20 years ago the Indian national football team was in England for a historic tour after 52 long years following their game against France at the 1948 Olympics.
India was in England from July 18 to 30 with matches against Fulham FC on July 22 at Craven Cottage in London, West Bromwich Albion on July 26 at the Hawthorns in Birmingham, and south Asian rivals Bangladesh on July 29 at the old Filbert Street Stadium in Leicester.
Under head coach Sukhwinder Singh a mix of experienced players and a new generation of youngsters had come to England after having won the 1999 SAFF Championship in Goa.
We stayed at the Keele University and could use their sporting facilities and for me this tour will always be a special memory as it was my first assignment with the Indian national team, made many lifetime friendships and could play my role in making the tour an overall success.
My report on IndianFootball.Com on July 17, 2000 stated: Just hours before leaving for England, the final India squad was announced. The players left out were Mohammed Najeeb from Mahindra United, Mumbai and Delhi’s Hindustan Club goalkeeper Vikrant Sharma. India’s only overseas player Baichung Bhutia will be the captain of the squad.
Also read my article: Why was Team India (Blue Tigers) nicknamed Bhangra Boys in the past? !
Virender Singh (Mahindra United), Prasanta Dora (Tollygunge Aggragami), Sandeep Nandy (Mohun Bagan)
Hussain Mustafi (Mohun Bagan), Prabhjot Singh (JCT Mills), Daljit Singh (JCT Mills), Roberto Fernandes (Salgaocar), Mahesh Gawli (Churchill Brothers), Tapan Ghosh (Mahindra United)
Basudeb Mondal (Mohun Bagan), Renedy Singh (East Bengal), Jules Alberto (Salgaocar), Hardip Sangha (JCT Mills), Hardip Saini (JCT Mills), Jo Paul Ancheri (FC Kochin), Khalid Jamil (Air India)
I.M. Vijayan (FC Kochin), Bhaichung Bhutia (Bury FC, England; CAPTAIN), Bijen Singh (East Bengal), Hardeep Gill (JCT Mills), Francis Silveira (Churchill Brothers), Syed Shabir Pasha (Indian Bank)
Sukhwinder Singh (Chief Coach), Krishnaji Rao (Assistant Coach), P.K. Banerjee (Technical Director), Dr. Sajeeb Kumar Nandi (Doctor)
With India’s historic tour of England celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, I will write a series of articles remembering that legendary tour!