Exploring the Top-Performing National Football Clubs in India. India has a rich history of club football owing to its colonial history. The football club culture is quite prominent in the eastern, north-eastern and some southern states. You must have heard the name of Mohun Bagan from Kolkata, one of the oldest clubs in Asia. The Kolkata derby featuring Mohun Bagan and their arch-rivals East Bengal is the biggest football event.
However, with the launch of the flagship premier league of India – the Indian Super League, several clubs have come to the limelight from the northern and the Western regions. Let’s take a close look at the various best-performing national clubs of India.
Top-Performing National Football Clubs In India
Mohun Bagan Super Giants
The iconic Mohun Bagan club from Kolkata was established in 1889. The RP Goenka group acquired the club in 2020 and subsequently renamed it Mohun Bagan Super Giants. This club, renowned as one of India’s most successful, clinched five national league victories along with an impressive 17 Durand Cup titles. Mohun Bagan also participated in several Asian Champions Cup seasons. Some of the notable players are Bhaichung Bhutia, Hiralal Mukherjee, Chuni Goswami, Subash Bhowmick, etc.
Home Ground: Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Kirangan
Head Coach: Juan Ferrando
Roster: Manvir Singh, Dimitri Petratos, Glan Martins, Ashish Rai, Sumit Rathi, Anirudh Thapa, Abhishek Suryavanshi, Hugo Boumous, Subashish Bose, Hector Yuste, Deepak Tangri, Armando Sadiku, and Brendan Hamill.
East Bengal FC
Established in 1920 and based in Kolkata, the East Bengal Football Club is a prominent football club. It serves as a fierce rival to Mohun Bagan, engaging in some of India’s most memorable football matches. It is a regular team in the flagship league of India – the ISL. East Bengal is one of India’s most decorated clubs. Won the national league 3 times and the Durand Cup 16 times.
Home Ground: Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan and East Bengal Ground
Head Coach: Carles Cuadrat
Roster: Cleiton Silva, Kamaljit Singh, Souvik Chakraborty, Jose Antonio Pardo, Saul Crespo, Jordan Elsey, Ajay Chhetri, Lalchungnunga, Prabhsukran Singh Gill, Javier Silverio, Borja Herrera, Athul Unikrishnan, Nandhakumar Sekar, and Hijazi Maher.
Located in the capital city of Karnataka, the Bengaluru Club was established in 2013. The current owner of the club is the JSW Group. This club is the 4th most successful team in Indian domestic football. In its short duration, the club challenged mighty powerhouses like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. It also has the honor of being the AFC runner-up in 2016. Bengaluru FC won the national league title 3 times.
Home Ground: Sree Kantaveera Stadium
Head Coach: Simon Grayson
Roster: Sunil Chhetri, Javi Hernandez, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Halicharan Narzaray, Naorem Roshan Singh, Jassel Carniero, Curtis Main, Alexander Jovanovic, Ryan Williams, Rohit Kumar, Namgyal Bhutia, Sivasakthi Narayanan, and Slavko Damjanovic.
Another club from South India, Kerala Blasters is situated in Kochi. It came into existence in July 2014 just before the start of the Indian Super League. The master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is the owner of this club. Kerala Blasters has a huge fan base because of the strong footballing culture in Kerala. Although, it could not win any national leagues it was the runner-up 3 times.
Home Ground: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
Head Coach: Ivan Vukomanovic
Roster: Rahul KP, Adrian Luna, Karanjit Singh, Dimitri Diamantakos, Ishan Pandita, Bryce Miranda, Marko Leskovic, Vibin Mohanan, Pritam Kotal, Sukhram Metei, Freddy Lallamawma, Danish Farooq, Naocha Singh and Kwame Peprah.