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Indian Football Team Captains List (2023)

Indian Football Team Captains List, who is the best ?

Who was the first-ever Indian football team captain ? Who is the Indian football team captain now ? And there are so many questions that the Indian football fans have in their mind, today Indian Football News presents to you an in-depth article on Indian Football Team Captains List.

But before that, let's dive into in-depth details about the Indian football team. The Indian national football team is controlled and governed by the All India Football Federation.

The Indian football team's first official international match is unknown to a lot, but it is believed that, the Indian football team played its first international football tour back in 1924 with both Indian and British players in the squad.

In the early 1950s and 1960s, the Indian football team was considered a powerhouse in football. India won the Gold medal in the 1951 and 1962 Asian games, while finished 4th in the 1956 Summer Olympic.

India even qualified to play in the 1950 World Cup after all the other countries of India's group withdrew from the competition, however, prior to the World Cup, India also withdrew from World Cup, but there is no proper reason for that available to the public.

Coming to the present era of football, Indian football is going through a rough patch at the moment, as of June 2021, the Indian football team is ranked 105 in the World Ranking, the highest rank that India achieved is 94, in 1996.

Indian Football Team Captains List

Now, Indian Football News bring to you a complete list of Indian football team captains. The list might be incomplete since there is very little information from earlier days available on the internet.

Gostho Pal

Gostho Pal is the very first Indian football team captain. Gostho Pal, who is mostly known by his nickname 'Chiner Pracheer' (means The Wall of China). His natural playing position was a defender and that's why people like to remark him as the above-mentioned nickname.

Gostho Pal was born on the 20th of August 1896 in Faridpore, Bengal Presidency, which now falls under Bangladesh. He arrived in Kolkata as an infant with the intention of playing a higher level of football.

He started his football career with Kumartuli Athletic Club, and then joined Mohun Bagan in 1912. Since then, he played the rest of his career for the green and maroon team. He was first appointed Indian national team captain in 1924. The legendary defender said goodbye to the beautiful world on 8th April, 1976 at the age of 79.

Talimeren Ao

While Gostho Pal was the first-ever Indian football team captain, Talimeren Ao was the first-ever Indian football team captain after India's independence in 1947, as he led the Indian team in the 1948 Summer Olympic.

Talimeren Ao was born on 28th January 1918 in a district called Naga Hills, Assam. Talimeren Ao was a defender, however, he started his career as a striker but upon arriving at Mohun Bagan, he was converted into a centre-back.

The great played football for the most of his life for Mohun Bagan after joining the side in 1943. He went on to retire as a legend in 1952. After that, he pursued his passion as a job and breathed his last on 13 September, 1998.

Sailen Manna

Born in Howrah, Bengal, Sailendra Nath Manna, mostly famous as Sailen Manna was one of the best defenders that India has ever produced. He had a glorious football career with club Mohun Bagan and the Indian national football team.

Born on 1st September 1924, Sailen Manna started his football career in 1940 playing for Howrah Union in the Calcutta Football League 2nd Division. 2 years later he moved on to another Kolkata club, Mohun Bagan.

He played 19 years for the green and maroon team. In 2006, in an interview, Sailen Manna revealed that, during these 19 year, he only earned ₹19, and confirmed that he only played football for the love of the game.

Sailen Manna also had a glorious international career for India, he was part of the 1948 Summer Olympic squad of India. Under his captaincy, India won the 1951 Asian games. He was also named in the top 10 captains by the English FA in 1953.

Sailen Manna retired from football in 1960, when he last played for Mohun Bagan. The legend breathed his last in 2012 after was admitted to a hospital in Kolkata after feeling unwell for a number of days.

PK Banerjee

Pradip Kumar Banerjee, shortly known as P.K Banerjee is one of the most successful Indian captain and striker. PK Banerjee was born on 23rd June 1936 and played for Aryan and Eastern Railway in his career.

PK Banerjee was an integral part of the Indian national team that won the 1962 Asian games. Not only as a player, but PK Banerjee has also been very successful as a manager/head coach as well, having managed East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and the Indian national team on 2 occasions.

In 2004, PK Banerjee was awarded with the highest honour awarded by FIFA, the FIFA Order of Merit. After suffering from chest infection, the legendary Indian striker passed away on the 20th of March, 2020.

Prasun Banerjee

The next name on our list is PK Banerjee's younger brother, Prasun Banerjee, who played as a defensive midfielder during his playing days.

Born on 6th April, 1955, Prasun Banerjee was introduced into football by his brother PK Banerjee. Prasun Banerjee played club football for Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting Club.

He played 5 times as the captain of the Indian team and was awarded with the Arjuna Award in 1979. Prasun Banerjee is now into politics with the All India Trinamool Congress.

Chuni Goswami

Subimal Goswami, mostly known to Indian football fans as Chuni Goswami, is one of the greatest footballer and athlete India has ever produced. Under his captaincy, the Indian football team won the 1962 Asian games, and he was a valuable player in that squad.

Chuni Goswami started his football career with Mohun Bagan, from playing for their youth team to becoming a key player of the senior team, he played his entire football career for the Mohun Bagan team.

Reportedly, the Mohun Bagan legend rejected an offer from English football giant Tottenham Hotspur. He has won numerous awards such as winning the Best Striker of Asia award in 1962, the Arjuna Award in 1963, Padma Shri in 1983 and Mohun Bagan Ratna in 2005.

Unfortunately, the legend is no longer with us as he passed away on 30th April, 2020 after suffering from cardiac arrest.

Shabbir Ali

From Hyderabad, once came a striker who dominated playing for India for a decade, and that person is no other than Shabbir Ali.

The legendary striker started off his career at a local Hyderabad club before joining Tata Sports Club in 1972. He has also featured for 2 of the 3 Kolkata giants, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting Club.

He came into the limelight after guiding the Indian football team to victory in the Asian Youth Championship in 1974 which earned him a lot of praise.

In between 1972 to 1984, Shabbir Ali played 72 international matches and scored 23 goals for India. He also tested himself in coaching as he has coached famous club of India such as Mohammedan, Salgaocar, Peerless, Mahindra United, Churchill Brothers etc.

ALSO READ: Indian Super League 2020-2021 award winners and prize money

Inder Singh

The next name on the list is Inder Singh, who played for India between 1962 to 1975. The Punjab born forward first took the captaincy in 1969 for the Merdeka Cup.

After a long injury layoff, Inder Singh took India's captaincy again in 1973 in the same tournament. Reportedly, after his performance against Thailand, the then Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman offered Inder Singh to play for the Malaysian national team, which he politely declined. He was last seen in football as a manager of JCT Mills.

Jarnail Singh

Jarnail Singh Dhillon is another of those famous centre-backs that India has produced. Born in Punjab, Jarnail Singh captained the Indian football team in between 1965 and 1967.

Jarnail Singh was selected as the captain of the Asian All-Star team of 1966. And won the Arjuna Award in 1964. Unfortunately, he passed away in the year 2000 at the age of 64 in Vancouver, Canada.

Mohammed Habib

Mohammed Habib is one of the most known names to football fans of India. Mohammed Habib represented the Indian football team from 1965 till 1975.

He also captained the Indian football team during this period. Once, PK Banerjee called him the "Indian Pele". For the rest of his career, he has only played football for all 3 of the Kolkata giants.

Syed Nayeemuddin

Syed Nayeemuddin, born in Hyderabad, led the Indian football team to a Bronze medal in the 1970 Asian game.

He started his football journey with Hyderabad City Police and then played for all 3 of the Kolkata's most famous clubs. He later managed the Indian national football team on 3 occasions. He was last coaching Bangladesh club, Brothers Union in the 2018-2019 season.

Gurdev Singh Gill

Gurdev Singh Gill has more than 100 appearances for the Indian football team and led the Indian football team in the 1978 Asian games, played in Bangkok.

He also won the Arjuna Award in 1978 for his performance for the Indian football team. He played for the Indian team between 1970 till 1979.

Brahmanand Sankhwalkar

Brahmanand Sankhwalkar was the first-ever goalkeeper to captain the Indian football team. He was an ever-present player in the national team for 25 years.

He was the captain of the Indian football team for 3 years during the 1983 to 1986 period. The Goan footballer was named player of the decade for the 1985-1995 period and won the Arjuna Award in 1997. He also had a stint as the goalkeeping coach of the Indian team.

VP Sathyan

The first-ever Indian footballer to have a movie on him, and the man is none other than Vatta Parambath Sathyan, simply VP Sathyan.

The centre-back from Kerala captained the Indian football team for the first time in the world cup qualifiers and then again in the SAF Games played in Dhaka in 1985.

He has 81 appearances for the Indian football team between 1985 to 1995. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us, he passed away at the age of 41 in 2006.

A Malayalam language film by the name of 'Captain' was launched in 2018 on the career of VP Sathyan.

Bhaichung Bhutia

Bhaichung Bhutia or simply Baichung Bhutia is one of the gems India has produced in its history. He was given the 'Sikkimese Sniper' nickname because of his shooting skills.

Bhaichung Bhutia has played for multiple clubs outside of India, and is considered an East Bengal legend for his four stints as an East Bengal player.

Bhaichung Bhutia was first appointed as the captain of the Indian football team in the 1998-1999 season. He was named captain of the national team several times after that too, including in the 2005 SAFF Championship, which India won under his captaincy. The man retired from football in 2011 with a farewell match against German giant Bayern Munich.

Subrata Paul

Subrata Paul, who is most famous to the fans by the nickname 'The Spiderman' for wonderful goalkeeping between the sticks, is one of the best goalkeepers India have ever seen.

He started his journey from Tata Football Academy and then played for Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Mumbai City of the some of the famous teams of India.

He was named Indian football team captain for the 2015 World Cup qualifiers by then head coach of Indian football team Stephen Constantine. Subrata Paul last played for SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League 2020-2021 season on loan from Hyderabad FC.

Sunil Chhetri

Who doesn't know the name of Sunil Chhetri, he is by far the best ever player to come out of the ranks of India. He is the leading goal scorer for the Indian national team with 74 goals, and finds himself ahead of Leonel Messi in terms of international goals.

Sunil Chhetri has taken hold of the Indian football team's captain armband since 2012 and India is yet to find someone close to the stature of Sunil Chhetri. Not only is he the best player, but he is also the most successful and the greatest ever captain to lead the Indian team.

Sunil Chhetri has won a lot of trophies as a player or as a captain, some best of them are Arjuna Award in 2011 and Padma Shri in 2019.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is one of some of the greatest goalkeepers who have worn the blue jersey, but in recent times, there is no one near to him.

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, 29, started his career with St. Stephen's FA and then joined East Bengal. He has experience of playing abroad like Sunil Chhetri and Bhaichung Bhutia.

Gurpreet first led the Indian football team in a match against Puerto Rico in a friendly match in 2016. Since then, he is seen leading the team in absence of Sunil Chhetri.

Sandesh Jhingan

As of June 2021, Sandesh Jhingan is the latest to be handed the captains armband. The Punjab born former United Sikkim player came into the limelight during the inaugural season of the Indian Super League when he won the emerging player of the season award, but he now features for ATK Mohun Bagan after signing for them in 2020.

Same as Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sandesh Jhingan gets to lead the Indian football team in absence of Sunil Chhetri. He made his captaincy debut in 2017 in friendly matches against Mauritius and St. Kitts and Nevis.


Who is the captain of Indian football team ?

Sunil Chhetri is the current captain of the Indian football team, however, when he is unavailable, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Sandesh Jhingan takes the captain's armband.

Who was the first Indian football team captain ?

Gostho Pal was the very first Indian football team captain.

Who was the first captain of Indian national football team after independence in 1947 ?

Talimeren Ao was the first captain of the Indian national football team after independence, when he took the field in the 1948 Summer Olympics as captain.

What is Indian football team ranking ?

As of June 2021, Indian football team ranking is 105, the highest was 94 in 1996.

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