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Kerala Football: Bringing Back the Long-Lost Glory

After struggling for decades, the football clubs of Kerala are slowly bringing back their long-lost glory

Once upon a time, alongside West Bengal, the South Indian state of Kerala was also recognised as the powerhouse of football. While Bengali clubs such as Mohun Bagan (now ATK MB), East Bengal, Mohammedan Sporting and a few others kept Bengal’s football afloat; Kerala and its footballing culture diminished over the decades.

However, in recent times (especially in 2022), Kerala football has brought back a portion of its long-lost glory. In the following paragraphs, we have drafted the journey of Keralean football back to its original state.

What is the importance of this article?

Given India is a cricket-crazy nation, football never achieved the stature enjoyed by cricket. From lack of funds to proper infrastructure, India’s football is struggling to find its feet. Although, the country with a 138-crore population has no dearth of football fans and in recent years, several business groups and celebrities have invested heavily in football.

The state of Kerala has also received the backing of many football enthusiasts because of which they have climbed up the ladder again. Not to forget, the state is a rich source of junior football players and therefore, people must know what is happening in the Keralean football circuit.

Winning the Santosh Trophy

Founded in 1941, the Santosh Trophy is one of the oldest domestic football leagues in India. On 3 May 2022, the team of Kerala won the prestigious league after 31 long years (their last win was in 1991). The team won the final match by defeating West Bengal, the most successful team of the tournament with 32 titles. In terms of titles, the recent success took Kerala’s Santosh Trophy count to seven titles.

Revival with Kerala Blasters FC

While football in Kerala has enjoyed massive success this year, the revival period started in 2014 with the inauguration of the Indian Super League and Kerala Blasters. When people in Kerala forgot football, Kerala Blasters brought back people to the stadium and reignited their passion for football. So far, Kerala Blasters have not won a single ISL trophy, but they have certainly created a strong fan base.

Gokulam’s success 

Kerala Blasters’ popularity helped major business groups realise that Keralean football can grow back to its original state. In 2017, Sree Gokulam Group founded Gokulam Kerala FC, a club that has won two I-Leagues since its debut in 2017. Last but not the least, the Kerala Football Association is now planning to construct a brand-new world-class stadium and has plans to establish a new state-level tournament.

Rohit Chatterjee

An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Rohit Chatterjee is a bona fide moto-enthusiast who has worked with several media houses in his brief career. Chatterjee mostly writes features and news articles related to automobiles and motorsports. When not working, he is found on the interstate clocking over 100kmph on his NS200!
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