Five instances when Indian teams and athletes earned surprise victories
The Indian football team will not be traveling to Jakarta, Indonesia for the upcoming Asian Games in August, later this year, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed in a press conference at the federation's headquarters in New Delhi, on Monday.
The general reason given for this development is that neither of the women's team, not the men's team are ranked high enough to fit the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) criteria to make it to the multi-sport event.
The IOA has set a blanket rule that the teams need to be ranked at least eighth or above, in order to participate in the Asiad. This rule has been introduced in order to ensure that the teams and athletes who travel to the Games stand a chance of winning medals.
While the women's team is ranked 13th amongst the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the men's team is placed on the 14th spot. Since Australia is a part of the AFC, but not a part of the Asian Games, however, the effective rankings for both the teams will be 12th and 13th, respectively.
The Indian football team has shown a lot of promise in the recent years, climbing up to the 97th spot on the FIFA rankings, and booking themselves a spot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Many believe that although the Indian football team does not have the required ranking, they have shown enough potential to deserve a ticket to Jakarta.
On that note, let's take a look at five surprising performances by India teams and individual athletes, that brought glory to the country.
#1 1911: Mohun Bagan became first Indian-only win IFA Shield
This is a story that has gone down in Indian sporting folklore. Never before had a team comprised of Indian players won a tournament of this magnitude. While Mohun Bagan had won local tournaments like the Trades Cup against English opposition in Colonial India, a victory in the major competitions was still awaited.
The Green and Maroons had already defeated teams like St Xavier's, Rangers, Rifle Brigade and Middlesex Regiment in the tournament, before facing the East Yorkshire Regiment in the final.
While the East Yorkshire Regiment had taken the lead in the first half, captain Sibdas Bhaduri scored the equaliser in the second half, before setting one up for Abhilash Ghosh on the 87th minute, to win it for Bagan.
This unprecedented win set off a wave of nationalistic sentiments across the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata), as one of the giants of Indian football took its baby steps in the beautiful game.