Football is one of the most popular sports in the world. In India, it ranks among the top five most-watched sports by people across all ages. To understand why football is popular in India, you need to appreciate the history of the game.
Introducton of Football in India
The game was introduced in India by British soldiers back in the 19th century. When people first started playing the game, it was only done by teams in their army. The masses would just spectate. Over the years, it slowly spread to the general population. One man called Prasad Nagendra is said to be the one who championed for the masses to be allowed to play. The first club that was formed in 1872 was the Calcutta FC. A few years later, the Indian Football Association was established in 1893.
Formation of Other Clubs
It did not take long before clubs like Aryan, Mohun Bagan and Sovabazar were established. Tournaments started springing up with the formation of the clubs, including cups such as Durand, Trades, Cooch Behar and other smaller tournaments. The first trades cup was held in 1982 and it is Sovabazar that won. The historical moment came in 1911 when club Mohun Bagan won against East Yorkshire, a British team.
Major Sporting Events
the more football became popular, Indian teams started playing against other countries, including Indonesia, Australia, Japan, and other neighbouring countries. In 1948, India participated in the first major international game by playing in the London Olympics. Two years later, they were to participate in the FIFA world cup event but they turned down the offer. They opted out when FIFA insisted they had to wear shoes. The Indian team was used to playing barefoot and they resisted. Lack of money was also a factor. They, however, continued playing at home and until now, football remains one of the favourite game among many Indians.