History of Indian Football is rich in its heritage and the game has spread large and wide among the people and the teenagers of our country. But, somehow in the mid 19th Century people started playing cricket. The craze of cricket overshadowed and hid the love for football among the people. It is like the era of football is hiding behind the big cloud of Cricket craze in the Indian people.
But as per the saying “ Every cloud has a silver lining “, the game of football has again gained momentum in the present day 21st Century and today’s youngsters are keen on playing football and making a professional career in the game. But, when we talk about the History of Indian football and the time when the game had just entered our country through the British soldiers, one name comes to our mind immediately. This name is Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari. He is also known as the father of Indian football. So, let us know more in detail about Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari: the father of Indian football.
The beginning of Interest in the football game
The Year was 1877. Nagendra Prasad’s interest in football peaked when one day he was returning home with his mother in a horse-drawn carriage. He saw a few Britishers playing and kicking a round ball in the Calcutta FC ground. He got curious and asked his mother if they can stop the carriage for some time so that he can watch the game.
The mother agreed and he descended the carriage to watch the game. While the game was going on, the ball suddenly came near him and the British Soldier’s asked him to kick the ball back to them. This is probably the first time he had kicked the ball. At that time he was just 10 years old.
Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari was a student of Hare college in North Kolkata. He soon convinced his friends about the game and bought a ball from Messrs Manton & Co, in Bowbazar, Kolkata. The very next day Nagendra and his friends started playing football on school premises.
A large crowd gathered to see this wonderful British game being played by Indian boys. Presidency college professor Mr. G. A. Stack had also come to watch the match in the crowd and he pointed out to the boys that they had bought a rugby ball.
He decided that he will gift the boys the correct football ball and will teach them the basics of the game. And in this manner, the football training of Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari and his friends started. Many of his friends will play a very important role in the game of football.
Nagendra Prasad soon became a star in his football team. He was a center forward in his team and also played many matches against Presidency college. The game of football gained Momentum in the 19th century.
Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari came in touch with many youngsters who wanted to play football. He with his other Royal friend Nagendra Mullick found a friends club. This club was the first club of many others started by him for football. By this time many schools had their own football teams. The dream of Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari was becoming true.
Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari established the Wellington Club in the year 1884. But, soon there were internal problems among the team members regarding the recruitment of a lower caste player named Moni Das. Nagendra Prasad was brought up in the British Era and did not bend down to the pressure of the team members.
He himself dissolved the club and then established the Sovabazar club in 1887. Sovabazar club became the first official club in the country to participate in proper football tournaments. Moni Das was the first team member who was recruited in the team.
Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari passed away in the year 1940. But, till that time his dream of spreading the game in the entire country had come true. The All Indian International football team had also been formed and the team had traveled to quite a few countries and marked their position in the world football.
So, this is all you want to know about Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari the father of Indian Football. If you know something more about this please do let us know in the comment section.