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Indian Football Team Captains

Gostha Pal - Nicknamed 'Chiner Pracheer' (The Wall of China) for his looks, Pal gained the reputation of being a rock-steady defender. He was born in Faridpore (in current Bangladesh) and was club captain of Mohun Bagan between 1921-1924. In 1924, he was named the captain of the national side.


Talimeren Ao - The very first captain of independent India, Ao led the national side in it's first ever game at the Olympics in 1948. He played only six times for India, but his name will be long remembered for being the very first captain of the new nation. Hailing from Nagaland, Ao was a centre-back as well as a

qualified physician. There are two stadiums in Assam named after him.


Sailen Manna - Considered one of the best defenders to pull on the India blue, Manna played 14 times for India between 1948-1956. He captained the side to gold at the Asian Games in 1951. The English FA back in 1953 rated him amongst the 10 best captains in the world in it's annual yearbook.


PK Banerjee - Made 84 appearances for India and is one of the most distinguished Indian footballers of all time. He scored 65 times for the side after making his debut in 1955. He captained the side at the 1960 Olympics.


Prasun Banerjee - The younger brother of PK Banerjee, Prasun played for India between 1974-1985 and captained the team five times in international tournaments. He was a defensive midfielder in his playing days, but is currently an MP from Howrah in the Lok Sabha.


Chuni Goswami - He was one of those multi-sport figures having played international football for India as a striker as well as first-class cricket for the Bengal Ranji Trophy team. He earned 50 caps for India between 1956-1964. He was captain when India won gold at the Asian Games in 1962 and silver at the Asia Cup two years later.


Shabbir Ali - The striker was an ever present in the national team for over a decade from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. He is one of the top goalscorers for the senior side and also captained the team for a few international tournaments in the late 70s.


Inder Singh - Played as a forward for India between 1962-1975. He was made captain for the first time in 1969 before another stint in 1973.


Jarnail Singh - Captained the side between 1965-1967. Singh was another in the long list of centre-backs to have captained the side. He was notably named in the Asian All Star team of 1966.


Mohammed Habib - Represented and captained the side between 1965-1975. Habib was a household name amongst football fans in the country back then with PK Banerjee once calling him 'the Indian Pele'.


Syed Nayeemuddin - Holds the unique distinction of having won both the Arjuna and Dronacharya Awards for football. Hailing from Hyderabad, he captained the side in the 1970 Asian Games, winning bronze. He has also coached the national side twice.


Gurdev Singh Gill - Gill gained over a century of caps for the Blues between 1970-1979. He was known to be an uncompromising defender and notably was captain for the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok. One of three footballers from Punjab to have been bestowed the Arjuna Award.


Brahmanand Sankhwalkar - Played for over 25 years as the goalkeeper of the national side. He was named the Player of the Decade by the AIFF for the 1985-1995 period. He captained the side from 1983 to 1986.


VP Sathyan - Hailing from Kannur, Kerala, Sathyan was a prominent member of the Indian team in the '90s. He was appointed captain of the team in 1991 for a couple of World Cup qualifiers and then later led the team to gold at the SAF games in 1995. A Malayalam movie titled 'Captain' based on his life was recently released in 2018.


Bhaichung Bhutia - The man who really popularized the game of football in the nineties and noughties, the Sikkimese Sniper first became captain in 1998-99. The legendary striker who played for over 16 years for the team was captain on numerous occasions including the successful SAFF Championship run in 2005.


Subrata Paul - Stephen Constantine named the custodian the skipper in March 2015 for that year's World Cup qualifiers. The team reached the second round of qualification under his leadership.


Sunil Chhetri - The current record goalscorer for the national side, Chhetri has made the armband his since 2012. It started with the AFC Challenge Cup back then and it has been his to lose ever since. With over 100 caps and 50 goals to his name and many other honours, Chhetri will go down as one of the most successful captains of all time when he hangs up his boots.


Gurpreet Singh Sandhu - The giant goalie is another who has in recent years been handed the armband by coach Constantine. He led the side out against Puerto Rico in 2016.


Sandesh Jhingan - The man whose beard has become as famous as his defensive work was handed the reins by Constantine in the absence of regular captain Chhetri in 2017 for friendly matches against Mauritius and St. Kitts and Nevis citing that he "leads by example."


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