Monday, March 27, 2023

Mohun Bagan: The Oldest Athletic and Football club in India

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A little known fact about Indian football is that it was introduced in India by British Soldiers in 1889, in Kolkata. This, in turn, led to the formation of Mohun Bagan Football Club on 15th August 1889 in Kolkata, thus making Kolkata the Football hub of the country. 

Mohun Bagan is one of the oldest football clubs not only in India but in Asia. Mohun Bagan plays in the I-league under the license of the All India Football Federation and boasts an incredible haul of 252 trophies for football.

History of Mohun Bagan Club

A famous marble palace named Mohun Bagan Villa was owned by Kirti Mitter, a wealthy and rich man. At that historical time, a lot of students from different colleges used to play football on the ground in front of the villa. Most of them were from the Dukhiram Majmudar student’s union. However, after some time most of the players playing at Mohun Bagan Villa parted ways and formed their separate groups. In order to support the players who continued to play at the Mohun Bagan Villa, the three influential families: the Basu family, the Mitter family, and the Sen family held a meeting at the residence of the then-lawyer Bhupendra Nath Basu and formed the Mohun Bagan sporting club with the existing players. The first presidents of the club were Mr. Bhupendra Nath Bose and Jyotindra Nath Bose and the first captain was Mr. Monilal Sen, who also happened to be the first Indian Cricketer in Bengal.

Mohun Bagan Win

1911 the first IFA Shield Win

In 1911 the club won its first IFA shield under British rule. The President of the club Jyotindra Nath Bose commented on the success is not a miracle, but rather the product of the team’s hard work. The list of players to lift the IFA Shield and the teams Mohun Bagan beat to win this tournament are as follows: 

First round: Mohun Bagan 3-0 St. Xavier’s

Second round: Mohun Bagan 2-1 Rangers

Third round: Mohun Bagan 1-0 Rifle Brigade

Semifinals: Mohun Bagan 3-0 Middlesex

The team was represented by the following players over the course of the tournament:

Hiralal Mukherjee (GK), Bhuti Sukul and Sudhir Chatterjee, Monmohan Mukherjee, Rajendra Nath Sengupta, Nimadhab Bhattacharjee, Jitendra Nath Roy, Sris Chanda Sarkar, Abhilash Ghosh, BijayDas Bhaduri and Shibdas Bhaduri (C).

In the same year, they also lifted the Gladstone cup, the Bengal Gymkhana Shield, and the Nawab Ahsanullah Challenge Shield.

Other Prominent Victories

From the years 1912 to 1919 Mohun Bagan continued its march towards glory, however, the Britishers did not take their defeat in 1911 very happily and in the 1912 IFA championships, Mohun Bagan was allegedly defeated through some conspiracy. Despite the minor setback, the club continued its victorious march through the other tournaments during the year.

In 1925 Mohun Bagan received the highest possible honor of being invited to play in the Durrand cup. It is believed that only the British army personnel and their team could participate in the Durand Cup. Mohun Bagan was the first International team that was invited to participate in the cup. 

The 1947 IFA win

Mohun Bagan continued its Golden run through the years and in 1947 won the IFA shield, and thus became the first club to win the IFA shield in Independent India. This was followed by a consecutive IFA shield in 1948, taking the team’s tally to three IFA shields. 

Continued winning Legacy

The team continued with its winning legacy and in 1977 the Mohun Bagan team became the first team to win a treble of trophies in a year (IFA Championship, Durand’s Cup and Rover’s Cup). In that same year, they played a friendly match against North American Soccer League at the Eden Garden which had the famous Brazilian player Pele’ in the team. The match ended as a 2-2 draw. 

In 1978 the club defeated the Soviet team and won the IFA shield, thus becoming the first Indian club to scoop the trophy by defeating a non-Asian team post-independence. In 2008 Mohun Bagan played against the German National team that lined up with players like Oliver Kahn. In 2016, Mohun Bagan became the first-ever Indian club to qualify for the second round of the AFC Champions League (Asian Football Champions League) by defeating Singapore based Tampinee Rovers.

Kit Design and Crest

The home colors of Mohun Bagan are Green and Maroon. The team shifts to more of a white base kit for the international club competition.

The crest of Mohun Bagan is a sailing country boat in green and maroon color. The symbol may be chosen keeping in mind the establishing city of Mohun Bagan (Kolkata) and the mode of transportation over there. Initially, the crest of Mohun Bagan was the symbol of the Bengal tiger in Jungle.

Current Team 

The current first team of Mohun Bagan includes the following players:

Sankar Roy, Sukhdev Singh, Fran Morante, Gurjinder Kumar, Ashutosh Mehta, Imran Khan, Kaushik Sarkar, Salva Chomorro, Joseba Beitia, Alexander Romario Jesuraj, Arijit Bagui, Lalramchallova, Nongdamba, Julen Colinas, Lalramzauva Khiangte, Vinod Pandey, Lalchhawn Kima, Suhair VP, Surrabbudin Mollick, Shilton Paul, Deep Saha, Debjit Majumder, Dhanachandra Singh (C), Shilton D’Silva, S. K Sahil, Bikramjit Singh, Babun Das, Dibyendu Sarkar, Azharuddin Mallick, Kiyan Nassiri, Daniel Cyrus, Sheikh Faiaz, Shubha Ghosh, Fran Gonzalez.

Thus Mohun Bagan continues building on its winning legacy right from the time of its inception. The club strives to spread the love of football in the country. The club plays in the National Football League, I-league and various other tournaments.

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Ava Brown
Ava Brown is a dedicated sports writer who skillfully captures the excitement and passion of the athletic world. Her insightful articles for Sportycious provide readers with a unique perspective on various sports disciplines. When she isn't crafting captivating content, Ava enjoys cheering on her favourite teams and actively participating in sports herself.
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