|Asian Cup 2019|
Australia, Saudi Arabia, Iran,
China, Japan, South Korea.
East Asia, West Asia(without Iran and Saudi Arabia),
Central Asia, South East Asia(ASEAN).
PIO (Player of Indian Origin)/Indian diaspora
The team, which was once considered one of the best teams in Asia, had its golden era during the 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, under the coaching of Syed Abdul Rahim, India won gold during the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games, while finishing fourth at the 1956 Summer Olympics. India has never participated in the FIFA World Cup, although they did qualify by default for the 1950 World Cup after all other nations in their qualification group withdrew. However, India withdrew prior to the beginning of the tournament. The team has also appeared four times in the AFC Asian Cup, Asia's top football championship and finished as runners-up in 1964. India also participates in the SAFF Championship, the top regional football competition in South Asia. They have won the tournament seven times since it began in 1993.
In the 21st century, besides the SAFF Championship triumphs, under the guidance of Bob Houghton, India won the restarted Nehru Cup in 2007 and 2009 and emerged victorious during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup. The Challenge Cup victory allowed India to once again qualify for the Asian Cup after 27 years.
|1962 Asian Games Gold Medalist|
GK: Peter Thangaraj
Thangaraj started his career with Morning Star Club and Friends Union Club of Secunderabad. He joined the Indian Army in 1953, where he played as a centre forward, but took to goalkeeping subsequently with great success. He later played for Mohammedan Sporting (1960–63, 1971–72), Mohun Bagan (1963–65), and East Bengal (1965–71). He played for India both at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, and represented India at 1958 Tokyo, 1962 Jakarta, and 1966 Bangkok Asian Games.
GK: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu started with East Bengal in 2009. In 2014, he signed for Norwegian club Stabæk. He is the fifth Indian to play professionally in Europe. He was also the first Indian to play in the Europa League. In 2017, he joined Bengaluru FC back home. From 2011 onward, he has played for India. He went to both 2011 and 2019 Asian Cup.
GK: Subrata Pal
A graduate of the Tata Football Academy, Subrata Pal started his senior career with Mohun Bagan in 2004. Later, he played for many clubs in India. In 2014, Pal had signed for FC Vestsjælland of the Danish Superliga, thus becoming the fourth Indian footballer to play professionally abroad, but he never made a first time appearance. He was India's starting goalkeeper at the Asian Cup 2011.
RB: Deeppak Mondal
Deepak Kumar Mondal was one of India's most prominent right backs for over a decade, earning 47 caps with the India national team. He won two Nehru Cup's with India, first in 2007 and then 2009. He also helped India win the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup and thus qualify for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, their first in 27 years. Mondal also played with both the Kolkata giants, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, spending five years at each club, captaining both of them.
Nicknamed as "Chiner Pracheer" (The Wall of China) he was one of the best defenders of contemporary Indian football. He started playing for Kumartuli A.C. aged 11, and joined Mohun Bagan at the age of 16. In 1921, Gostho Paul was honored with the captaincy of the Mohun Bagan football team, and he remained as the club captain for next 5 years. In 1924, he was also appointed as the captain of the Indian national football team.
CB: Syed Nayeemuddin
Syed Nayeemuddin was known as Nayeem. As a player, he played for Hyderabad City Police FC, East Bengal FC, Mohun Bagan AC i Mohammedan Kolkata. He played for India between 1964 and 1971. He also captained the Indian national team that won a bronze medal at the 1970 Asian Games. He is the only sports-person to win both the Arjuna and Dronacharya Awards for football.
CB: Arun Ghosh
Arun Ghosh represented India between India between 1960 and 1971. He played a pivotal role in the memorable Asian Games gold win in 1962 and runners-up in Asian Cup in 1964. He started with Howrah Union before he moved Mohun Bagan. He joined East Bengal in 1960. He had a long careers with East Bengal. He also played for BNR (Bengal Nagpur Railways).
CB: Jarnail Singh
Jarnail Singh played club football for Khalsa Sporting Club, Rajasthan Club and Mohun Bagan AC during the 1950's and 1960's. Most of his career was with Mohun Bagan. He was given the Arjuna Award in 1964 for his achievements as a football player. He also competed in the men's tournament at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He was the only Indian footballer to be selected as the captain of the Asian All Star Football Team in 1966.
Manna started his playing career for Howrah Union, then a club in the 2nd Division Kolkata Football League, in 1940. He joined Mohun Bagan in 1942 and continued playing for the club till his retirement in 1960. He has represented and captained India in different international competitions including Olympics and Asian Games. He is the only Asian Footballer ever to be named among the 10 best Captains in the world by the English FA in 1953.
DM/LB: Prasun Banerjee
Younger brother of the Pradip Kumar Banerjee, Prasun had also captained the India national football team in international tournaments. Banerjee was included in the All Time Best-XI team of Mohun Bagan Club as a Central Defensive Midfielder. He also played for Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting. He was capped 49 times for India. He played in Asian Games – 1974, 1978, 1982.
CM/LB/FW: Syed Nabi
A product of the Tata Football Academy, Nabi started his career playing as a striker, then moved to midfield and then played as wing back. In recent international friendlies he has been playing as a fullback. Nabi’s club career started with Mohammedan Sporting but later joined East Bengal in 2004. From 2004 to 2013, he played over 60 times for India.
DM: Talimeren Ao
Talimeren Ao is best known as the captain of Indian team in their first ever match in the 1948 Summer Olympics, in the team's first official game and was the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent. He played 5 more matches for India. In 1943 Ao joined Mohun Bagan, who were then in the Calcutta Football League. In Mohun Bagan, Ao was Centre-Half and along with his two Backs, they were popularly known as "the Great Wall of China".
As a wing half, represented the country in the 1956 Melbourne and 1960 Rome Olympics. In 1956, India finished fourth. He had also played for the country in Asian Games held in Japan in 1958. At club level he played for Bangalore Muslims. In 1956, he moved to Calcutta and played till 1964 with distinction for both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
CM: Yousuf Khan
Yousuf Khan represented India national team at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He was one of only two Indians to have been included in the 1965 Asian All Stars XI. He was also a part of the team that won gold at the 1962 Asian Games. Khan received Arjuna Award in 1966. For club football, he played for Hyderabad City Police (football club). His nickname was the “Bearded Horse” of India.
CM: Climax Lawrence
In 1999, Climax Lawrence joined Salgaocar. In 2004, he moved to East Bengal, but after a single season, he went to play for Dempo in Goa. He stayed there in 2013. He later played for Mumbai, Atlético de Kolkata, Laxmi Prasad and Bardez. From 2003 to 2012, he played 75 times for India. In the AFC Challenge Cup, he scored the winning goal in the 91st minute against Afghanistan to help India to a 1-0 victory. He represented India at the 2012 Asian Cup.
Balaram made his mark playing football for the East Bengal F.C., Kolkata. In 1961 Balaram was selected as East Bengal captain – he led from the front and played one of his best ever seasons. He top scored with 23 goals, won the league’s best player award. He was one of the best players of the golden age of Indian football of the 1950s and 1960s. He represented India at the 1956 and 1960 Summer Olympics.
RW: Mohammed Salim
Salim started with Chittaranjan Club of Bowbazar in 1926. He went on to to play for Sporting Union, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting Club. In 1936, he played two exhibition matches against the Chinese Olympic side. These games were the first international matches played in India. That year, he also played two friendly matches for Scotland's Celtics. He thus became the first player from the Indian sub-continent to play for a European club.
FW: Chuni Goswami
Chuni Goswami was a one club man for Mohun Bagan. He was lonked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur. He captained the club in 5 seasons from 1960 to 1964. For international football, he represented India at the 1960 Summer Olympics. He won the gold medal at the 1962 Asian Games and earn the runners-up position at the 1964 AFC Asian Cup. He was also a first class cricketer, playing Ranji Trophy for Bengal.
Vijayan started with Kerala Police club and rose to become a star in domestic football. He was crowned Indian Player of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 1999, the first player to win the award multiple times. He was also awarded the Arjuna award in 2003. For India, Vijayan and Bhaichung Bhutia formed one of the deadliest forward lines the Indian Football team had ever seen. He won the 1999 South Asian Football Federation Cup. He had 66 caps scoring 29 goals.
ST: Bhaichung Bhutia
Bhaichung Bhutia is often nicknamed the Sikkimese Sniper because of his shooting skills in football. He was Three-time Indian Player of the Year. Bhutia has had four spells at East Bengal Club, the club where he started his career. When he joined English club Bury in 1999, he became the first Indian footballer to sign a contract with a European club and only the second to play professionally in Europe.
D'Souza represented his nation at the 1956 Summer Olympics, where he became the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in an Olympic Games in a 4-3 win over the host Australia. D'Souza finished the tournament as joint top-scorer, with 4 goals in 3 games. He played his club football with Bombay (Maharashtra football team).
RW/ST: PK Banerjee
PK Banerjee was named Indian Footballer of the 20th century by IFFHS. In 2004, he was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit, the highest honour awarded by FIFA. In 1954, he began with Aryan FC. He later played for Eastern Railway between 1955 and 1967. He went to the 1958, 1962 and 1966 Asian Game. He was part of the national team that played at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne where they reached the Semi Finals.
ST: Sunil Chhetri
Popularly known as Captain Fantastic, having scored the second highest number of goals in international matches among active male players after Cristiano Ronaldo, he is both the most-capped player and all-time top goalscorer for the Indian national team, with 72 goal. He was also one of India's best players during the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup in which India won the tournament and thus qualified for their first AFC Asian Cup in 27 years.
Shabbir Ali, Sandesh Jhingan, Sudhir Karmakar, Mahesh Gawli, Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Netan Sansara, Kiran Bechan, Renedy Singh, T. Abdul Rahman, Sheoo Mewalal, Magan Singh, Inder Singh, Pronay Halder, Jackichand Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Dheeraj Singh, Aloke Mukherjee, Tulsidas Balaram, J. Krishnaswamy,
-- Obviously, as a Hong Kong Chinese, I do not know much about Indian football. In the 1950's and 1960's, India actually enjoyed a glorious era in Asia. They used to visit Hong Kong, where they were fondly remembered of playing bare foot. I recalled hearing stories about them.
-- When I started this team, I meant to include players of Indian origins on this team. Players such as Aron Winter, Neil Taylor, Jimmy Carter, Michael Chopra, Vikash Dhorasoo, etc would have made this team interesting. But there are plenty of English language information on Indian football. So I easily built an All-Time team with overseas Indians.
-- India does not allow dual citizenship at the time of writing. It will be difficult for overseas Indians to play for India.
-- Indian footballers were at one point known for playing with bare feet. Mohammed Salim played both his matches for Celtics without boots. He was the first Indian of note to play in Europe.
-- Indian football was at its peak from 1948 to 1964, as India played in four Olympics and won two Asian Games gold medals. PK Banerjee, Tulsidas Balaram and Chuni Goswami were the holy trinity of Indian football’s Golden Era. Chuni Goswami was the captain of the team that won the gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games 1962. Defender Jarnail Singh played as a striker in the semi-final and the final, scoring two goals. Peter Thangaraj was also from that generation.
-- India also qualified for the 1950 World Cup Finals, but withdrew because of the expenses required in getting the team to Brazil. Other reasons cited for why India withdrew include FIFA not allowing Indian players to play in the tournament barefoot. Sailen Manna is considered to be India's greatest defender. He was due to captain that team.
-- India reached the semifinal of 1956 Olympics. P. K. Banerjee was their captain while Neville D'Souza was the top scorer in the tournament. However, India received a walkover after Hungary withdrew from the tournament. India only beat the host Australia in the quarterfinal.
-- Sunil Chhetri was one of the few Indians to have a chance to play in Europe. In a few of the modern lists, he is ranked as the greatest ever Indian player. Baichung Bhutia is the only Indian player I have heard of before I started my research. I thought he was the greatest Indian footballer.
-- Peter Thangaraj is known as India's greatest goalkeeper. I decided to take two modern goalkeeper as backups, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Subrata Pal. The other goalkeepers I discovered are Bhaskar Ganguly, Brahmanand Shankwalkar , Pradyut Barman and Sandip Nandy.
-- Most of the positions are filled with household names for Indian football, except the leftback positions. I don't often see the names of Aloke Mukherjee and Syed Nabi mentioned. I dropped leftback Aloke Mukherjee for an extra attacker. Midfielder Prasun Banerjee will be my starting leftback. The rightback Gostha Pal and Deepak Mondal seemed to be more famous.
-- Talimeren Ao is a historical figure in India football. However, his name does not appear much anywhere. I found it odd since India actually created a postage stamp of him. He was the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent at the 1948 London Olympics.
-- I also learned about Manoranjan Bhattacharya and Sudhir Karmakar, but unsure about their actual positions. Instead, I took Syed Nayeemuddin, he captained the India that won a bronze medal at the 1970 Asian Games.
-- Jackichand Singh was named after Jackie Chan. He made honorable mention.
-- India reached the semi-final of the 1956 Olympics. Neville D'Souza was the top scorer in the tournament. It is achievement that not many Indians can claim. I took him over Shabbir Ali. Shabbir Ali lost out to players from the older generations when India dominated Asian football. Sunil Chhetri and Baichung Bhutia are also considered India's greatest footballers, making impossible to select Shabbir Ali.
-- Mohammed Salim seldom got mentioned on any of India's All-Time list. He played a few friendly games for Celtics in Scotland. He was offered a contract, but he decided to return home. He was the first Indian to play in Europe. This was a milestone for Indian football.
PK Banerjee started over Mohammed Salim on the right. Chuni Goswami also deserved to start.