Most successful clubs in the I-League history
I-League is the premier club competition of India, which came to fruition in 2007-08 after the All India Football Federation (AIFF) decided that India’s domestic professional football scene needed a relaunch and rebranding.
The inaugural season consisted of 10 teams and a change in the foreign-player restrictions was made. Dempo clinched their first of three trophies at the end of the inaugural season.
Given the massive clubs on display and its rich history, the question arises as to who are the most successful I-League teams of all-time. Let’s take a look:
Dempo Sports Club
The Golden Eagles rule the roost when it comes down to winning the premier trophy. They have managed it on three different occasions, which is the most in the league’s 13-year old history. Armando Colaco led side was the top side during two of the first three seasons of the prestigious league.
What was even more impressive was that, during the 2009-10 season, they did it without their star striker and present Indian captain Sunil Chhetri, who had to leave midway for a stint in Major League Soccer for Kansas City Wizards.
They won their third trophy during the 2011-12 season. Ranti Martins was the MVP for the Goa club.
The Mariners are one of the oldest football clubs in the world and are in the second position in our list with two titles, just edging out Churchill Brothers and Bengaluru FC by virtue of managing more points in the league’s history.
The Kolkata based club rode on the brilliance of their goalkeeper Debjit Majumder and defender Bello Rajaq to clinch their first trophy in 2014-15 under the able guidance of their coach Sanjoy Sen.
They are also the latest winners of the tournament as they were handsomely leading the table when the league was disrupted amidst the pandemic situation.
Churchill Brothers Sports Club
The Red Machine comes in the third position in our list with two trophies to their name. Odafe Onyeka Okolie thumped in a monstrous 24 goals as they scampered to their first I-League trophy in the 2008-09 season.
It was more of an all-around effort during their second triumph. Led by Mariano Dias and captained by the Brazilian Beto, they beat Pune to the title by a 3-point difference during the 2012-13 season.
The Blues as they are fondly called surprised everyone as they impressively romped to the title in their debut season in the league during the 2013-14 season.
Sunil Chhetri was at his mesmerizing best as he raked in most goals during the campaign. Defender John Johnson was another star for the debuting side.
During their second winning season (2015-16), their defence was the star as they allowed only 17 goals as they won the title in a close finish beating defending champion Mohun Bagan in the process.
Coach Ashley Westwood is another name that has etched itself in the minds of the Bengaluru faithful with his two titles in three years in charge.
Cover image credits: Sportstar