The evolution of the Indian football team jersey over the years
On Tuesday, India defeated Nepal 2-0 to script a history-making seventh straight win in international matches. It was the first time an Indian team had won three consecutive matches to start a calendar year off, but certain sections of the national team fans were left a little dissatisfied, even at the end of another victory for the Blue Tigers.
American apparel and sports accessories giant Nike has been involved with the Indian national team over the past ten years, being the kit suppliers for the Blue Tigers. The multinational conglomerate's contribution to Indian football was recognised yesterday at the All India Football Federation (AIFF) awards night yesterday for its long-term contribution to Indian football. However, Nike's new kit for the national team hasn't been that well received, although the kit's light blue tones and a minimalistic design looked neat with the new AIFF logo.
That being said, the new kit will find its place among the multitude of kits the Blue Tigers have worn until now, but whether it goes down as one of the all-time best remains to be seen. Here is a look at how the Indian national football team's jersey has changed its face over the years.
#1 Pre-21st century
India doesn't make much noise as a footballing nation, hence there is little to no record of the Blue Tigers achieving notable success on the pitch. In the 20th century, apart from the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games where they won gold medals, the Indian national football team barely created ripples as regards capturing the imagination of a billion Indian people like the way the nation's cricket team did in the aftermath of the 1983 Cricket World Cup.
Consequently, footages of the Indian football team during the halcyon days of PK Banerjee, Sailen Manna, Shyam Thapa, Sheoo Mewalal are either very hard to find or grainy to such an extent that recognising the players becomes a taxing job. The national team played in their traditional blue in the time before sponsors started rolling out contracts for national teams kits.
India played in a sky blue kit in the years preceding their first kit deal with adidas and had quite a few memorable wins during this time to boot. The Blue Tigers defeated a strong UAE outfit in a qualifier for the 2002 World Cup in Korea, Japan and also lifted the LG Cup in Vietnam under Stephen Constantine. Those wins were two of the best results the national team have had in the recent past, and it came before the advent of money in the Indian football scene when India started inviting sponsors for its national team's kits.