Like any other sport, football is more than just a game; it's an emotion for the fans. For many players, this sport is their religion. As a football enthusiast, you must know a lot about this sport, like the world-famous players, the most popular football teams and clubs, the history of origin of this sport and much more. However, as an Indian football fan, are you aware of how this sport evolved in the country, and what are some of the top clubs in India currently? 

With football gaining popularity in the country, we must know more about the situation of this sport in India and start supporting the budding footballers. Hey, football fans! Look no further as this article will give you all the information related to Indian football, the history of this sport in India, the top football clubs, their famous players, and their achievements as a club. Read ahead to know more. 

History Of Indian Football

Football has a long and detailed history in India. It was introduced in the mid-nineteenth century in India by British soldiers and was played to encourage unity in the army. Did you know that football was once the national sport of the country? India is the home to the world's third oldest competition of this sport- the Durand Cup, founded in 1888, and some of the oldest football clubs in the world are in India. The first football club in India was the Calcutta FC, established in 1872, and the oldest club that is currently active is the Mohun Bagan AC, which was established in 1889. Football was once a highly celebrated game in India. In 1893, the Indian Football Association (IFA) was established in Calcutta, and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was formed in 1937. This is the national governing body of football in India and got affiliated with FIFA a decade after its formation. Many football events are organized nationwide, and the ISL, or the Indian Super League, is one of the most popular ones. 

The Rise Of The Indian Super League (ISL)

It is well-known that cricket is the most watched sport in India and is also no less than a religion for the people here. However, football is gaining more popularity and is now the second most-watched sport in the country. This credit goes mainly to India's premier football league- ISL. The ISL, or Indian Super League, is the world's fifth-biggest football league in terms of average audience attending each match. This sporting event was founded on 21 October 2013 and began with only eight teams in October 2014—the Indian Super League aimed to increase the exposure to this sport in India and grow its popularity. 

Famous Football Clubs In India

We now know about the Indian Super League as a leading football event in the country. Let us look at some of the most famous football clubs active in this sporting event and learn more about these clubs. 

Mumbai City FC

Based in Maharashtra, Mumbai, the Mumbai City FC is one of India's most famous football clubs. The club was founded in August 2014, making it a 9-year-old club with Des Buckingham as the head coach. Some of this football club's famous players include Rahul Bheke, the team captain, Phurba Lachenpa, Valpuia, Mehtab Singh and Vikram Partap Singh. This football club has one of the most vocal fanbases in the country, and their fan club- the West Coast Brigade, is highly notable for the same. The Mumbai City FC is also known by their nickname- the Islanders.

Bengaluru FC

Based in Bangalore, Karnataka, the Bengaluru FC is another famous football club in the country. The club was established in July 2013 and won the I-League in its debut year. The nickname by which this football club is known is the Blues. The head coach of Bengaluru FC is Simon Grayson, and the captain is Sunil Chhetri. Some other notable players of this club include Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Paras Shrivas, Aleksandar Jovanović and Keziah Veendorp. The fans of this football club are known as the West Block Blues. 

ATK Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan SuperGiants is currently the oldest football club in India, and it is also one of the oldest clubs in Asia. It was founded in 1889 as Mohun Bagan Sporting Club, which was renamed ATK Mohun Bagan after the company that owned ATK got 80% stakes in the club. The club is one of India's most successful football clubs, and the coach is Juan Ferrando. Some notable players of this football club are Subhasish Bose, the team captain, Vishal Kaith, Sumit Rathi, Anirudh Thapa and Anwar Ali. The nickname of the Mohun Bagan SuperGiants is the Mariners. 

Chennaiyin FC

The Chennaiyin FC is based in Chennai, which is the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu. Founded in August 2014, this football club is nine years old. Some notable players of Chennaiyin FC are Lazar Cirkovic, the captain, Samik Mitra, Ankit Mukherjee, Ryan Edwards and Ninthoi Meetei. The two famous fan groups of the Chennaiyin FC are the B Stand Blues and the Supermachans. Marina Machans is the nickname by which this football club is popularly known. 

Kerala Blasters FC

The Kerala Blasters FC, popularly known as the Blasters, is a football club based in Kochi, Kerala. The club was founded in May 2014 and has been the runner-up in the Indian Super League or the ISL. The head coach of this club is Ivan Vukomanovic. A notable player of the Kerala Blasters FC is Adrian Luna, the team captain. Karanjit Singh, Sandeep Singh, Hormipam Ruivah and Jeakson Singh. The nickname of this club is the Tuskers. This football club is known for its passionate fan base, which is known as Manjapadda or the Yellow Army. 

FC Goa

FC Goa is based in Margao, Goa and was established in August 2014. Manolo Marquez is the head coach of the club, and the famous players include Brandon Fernandes, the team captain, Dheeraj Singh, Sanson Pereira, Sandesh Jhingan and Carl McHugh. FC Goa Fan Club and East Lower Army are the recognized fan clubs of FC Goa. The club also has a vast celebrity fan following. The nickname of this football club is the Gaurs. 

Jamshedpur FC

The Jamshedpur FC is a football club based in Jamshedpur city in Jharkhand, and it was founded in June 2017, making it a 6-year-old club. The nickname by which this club is popularly known is the Men of Steel. Another name for this club is The Red Miners. The most popular players of this club are Alen Stevanovic, the club captain, Pronay Halder, Rakshit Dagar, Jitendra Singh, Laldinpuia and Ricky Lallawmawma. The club has been the winner of the Indian Super League in the 2021-22 edition. The Red Miners are the official supporters of the Jamshedpur FC. 

Northeast United FC

The Northeast United FC is the football club representing the 8 Northeastern Indian states- Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim. Founded in April 2014, this football club is based in Guwahati, Assam. The head coach of the Northeast United FC is Juan Pedro Benali, and the famous players are Romain Phillippoteaux, the team captain, Dipesh Chauhan, Dinesh Singh, Tondonba Singh and Michel Zabaco. The nickname by which this club is known is the Highlanders. 

Hyderabad FC

The Hyderabad FC is based in Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana. The club was founded in 2019, making the Hyderabad FC a 4-year-old. The head coach of this football club is Thangboi Singto, and the famous players include Joao Victor, the captain, Gurmeet Singh, Oswaldo Alanis, Chinglensana Singh and Vignesh Dakshinamurthy. The nickname for this club is The Nizams, and the Deccan Legion is an active fan group of this football club. The club has once won and twice runner-up in the Indian Super League. 

Odisha FC

Based in the capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneshwar, the Odisha FC was founded in October 2014 as the Delhi Dynamos FC, which in 2019 changed to the Odisha FC. Sergio Lobera is the head coach of this football club, and the notable players include Amrinder Singh, the team captain, Narender Gahlot, Amey Ranawade and Carlos Delgado. The club's nickname is Kalinga Warriors, and the Juggernauts is their famous support group. 

Legacy Clubs: East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan AC

East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan AC are the legacy football clubs in India. These are two of the oldest football clubs in the country. The East Bengal FC was founded in 1920 and is 103 years old, while Mohun Bagan AC was founded in 1889. 

Indian Football Clubs Ranking

In the previous sections, we have shared with you a list of the top football clubs in the country currently. As you now have more information about these clubs, you must be keen to know which of these clubs tops the ranking in India. We will now look at the Indian football clubs ranking based on their recent performances to help you get an idea. 

Football Club Ranking

  1. Mumbai City FC
  2. ATK Mohun Bagan
  3. Bengaluru FC
  4. FC Goa
  5. Hyderabad FC
  6. Chennaiyin FC
  7. Odisha FC
  8. Kerala Blasters FC
  9. Jamshedpur FC
  10. East Bengal FC


As the craze for football increases among Indians, the sport also gains much recognition and attention at various levels. Multiple Indian football clubs function at different levels. In the previous sections, we have shared with you the top football clubs in the country and their ranking to help you know more about the situation of this sport in our country. Some of these clubs are famous nationwide, playing in the major leagues and tournaments. At the local level, many clubs and academies provide a solid foundation to budding footballers by offering them well-structured training programs. 


How do you join a football club in India?

To join a football club in India, you need to be a player who has been in the game for a while and has performed well. You must enter a local club or academy to get structured training and play in different tournaments and leagues organized at different levels. As you grow, you can join a bigger club and even be selected by the State and National clubs.

Which is the oldest football club in India?

The oldest football club in India was Calcutta FC, and the oldest football club in India still exists is the Mohun Bagan Sporting Club. 

Which is the best football club in India?

The best football club in India is Mumbai City FC, a top-ranker. 

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