- Aizawl FC winning the I-League in 2017.
Khalid Jamil’s men ended the rat-race with Mohun Bagan on the last day of the season after they achieved a draw at Shillong Lajong FC and became the first team to win the I League from north east despite finishing second to last the season before that. As “Leicester” as it gets, isn’t it?
- Indian men’s football team entered top 100 in FIFA rankings.
Times are changing for football in India, a cricket crazy nation with fan base building up for other sports as well. It became very evident in the past two years which saw a meteoric rise in India’s ranking from 166 in 2015 to 100 in 2017. India broke in the top 100 for the first time since 1993. Yeah!! Good times ahead for the football fans in the country.
- Bengaluru FC making it to the finals of the AFC cup.
The Bengaluru based club defeated then defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim from Malaysia 3-1 to proceed in to the finals of the prestigious second-tier continental tournament. In doing so Bengaluru FC became the first team ever from India to reach the finals of the esteemed tournament. Although they suffered a heartbreaking 0-1 defeat at the hands of Air Force Club of Iraq in the summit clash it was a big moment for Indian football so much so that Indian captain Sunil Chhetri stated that his club making it to the summit clash of the AFC Cup heralds a beginning in the revival of Indian football.
- First time in history a FIFA tournament to be held in India.
India for the first time in their history will get the opportunity to host a global FIFA tournament in 2017. India will be the hosts for U-17 FIFA world cup which will commence in the month of October. Teams from 24 countries will participate in the tournament in which India will get a direct entry for being the hosts. This will be a huge boost for Indian football and will only bring more opportunities to host such high profile tournaments and maybe someday soon we will get to watch FIFA world cup in our very own country. (Fingers crossed)
- Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, first Indian to play in the Europa League.
Indian football team’s goal keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu created history by becoming the first Indian footballer to participate at the continental stages of Europe when he started the game for his Norwegian Tippeligaen club Stabæk in a Europa League tie against Wales’ Connah’s Quay Nomads on 30th June 2016. Putting it in prospect, it is a big deal as Europa Leaue has teams like Liverpool, Manchester united and Ajax among other giants competing for the second tier European glory. Sandhu is certainly a keeper! (Pun anyone?)