Mohammedan SC (Kolkata)

Mohammedan Sporting Club is an Indian football club based in Kolkata, West Bengal.[1][2] The club competes in the Indian Super League,[3] the top of the Indian football league system, as well as Calcutta Football League (CFL),[4][5][6] the oldest football league in Asia.[7] Formed in February 1891, it is one of the oldest active football clubs in the country.[8][9]

Mohammedan Sporting Club
Full nameMohammedan Sporting Club
Nickname(s)The Black Panthers
Short nameMSC, MDSC
Founded22 February 1891; 133 years ago (1891-02-22)
Ground
Capacity
  • 15,000
  • 12,000
Owner
  • Bunkerhill Private Limited (51%)
  • Mohammedan Sporting Club Private Limited (49%)
PresidentAmiruddin Bobby
Head coachAndrey Chernyshov
LeagueIndian Super League
2023–24I-League, 1st of 13 (promoted)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The club became affiliated with the Indian Football Association (IFA) to play in the second division of CFL before earning promotion to the premier division of CFL in 1933 and a year later, Mohammedan became the first Indian team to win the league and in 1938 became the first team to win it five consecutive times.[10] After the independence of India, Mohammedan became the first Indian club to win a football tournament on foreign soil by lifting the Aga Khan Gold Cup in 1960.[11] In 1996, the club was one of the founding members of India's first nationwide league – National Football League (NFL). For all its laurels, Mohammedan has never won a top-tier league, only managing to win the 2004–05 NFL Second Division to qualify for NFL, and the 2020 I-League qualifiers to qualify for I-League, which was then the first-tier league of India.[12] They have won the Federation Cup twice in 1983–84 and 1984–85.[13]

Founded during the early years of India's independence movement, Mohammedan had been a symbol of progressive Muslim identity through the tumultuous period of freedom struggle in colonial India and the subsequent struggle for status in an altered post-partition landscape.[14][15][16] Therefore, the club is primarily supported by the Muslim population of Bengal and it had provided a major backing to the community residing in Kolkata by spreading the sport to a sizeable population during its foundation days.[17] This led to communal rivalry with its cross-town competitors – East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, which were primarily supported by the Hindu population of Bengal during the early decades.[18][19][20] The rivalries with both the teams have become non-communal and mostly insignificant over the course of time due to the rarity of their meetings at major tournaments. The club's youth team took part in Manchester United Premier Cup of India.[21]

History

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The beginning and early decades (1887–1930)

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Syed Ahmed Rashid was the first Muslim to receive the title of Khan Sahib from the Governor General of India in 1932. He served as the secretary of Mohammedan twice.

In 1887, under the leadership of Khan Bahadur Aminul Islam, a sporting club named Jubilee Club was founded, which was later renamed into Crescent Club and then into Hamidia Club. Finally in 1891, Islam reformed the club and named it Mohammedan Sporting Club to represent the Bengali Mohammedans living in Calcutta.[22][23][24][25] The club participated in a number of local tournaments after its foundation but came into prominence only after they won the Cooch Behar Cup in 1902, 1906 and in 1909. Initially, the club's objective was not strictly communal, and the club members often showed sincere appreciation towards achievements of its counterpart – Mohun Bagan, which was then supported by both Bengali Hindus as well as Muslims. During Mohun Bagan's historic 1911 IFA Shield victory, the members of the club "were almost mad and rolling on the ground with joyous excitement on the victory of their Hindu brethren."[26]

Khan Sahib Syed Ahmed Rashid took a very keen interest in the social and sporting life in Bengal and was the elected Joint Secretary of Mohammedan, from 1925 to 1932.[27][28] Although it was not before 1927 that the financial condition of the club improved when the team was able to play in the second division of the Calcutta Football League (CFL). In order to overcome the precarious financial state of the club, the Joint Secretaries of the club made an appeal to the public "to support a scheme of the club, extending its activities in the social sphere of Muslims", and also requested for donations of ₹3,500 to ₹4,500.[17] With the improved performances of the club in every sport it participated, the management was able to acquire a considerable amount of investment which helped the club to build better teams. Due to Rashid's widespread influence in sports in Bengal, Sir Francis Stanley Jackson, the Governor of Bengal, accepted the patronage of the club.

During Satyagraha, Rashid helped to organise and make the club participate in the Monsoon League in 1930, the CFL in 1930 and 1931, and number of other sports tournaments, when every native club was boycotting sporting events, which was greatly appreciated by IFA, Bengal Hockey Association and Cricket Board of Control in Bengal and Assam.[29] In 1930, Mohammedan finished last in the league table and was on the verge of being relegated out of the CFL 2nd Division, but was allowed to continue when one of the second division teams – East Indian Railway discontinued.

The golden period (1931–1947)

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Performance stats of Mohammedan in CFL from 1934 to 1941.

One of the club officials, CA Aziz concentrated on creating a strong team through modern strategies and was one of the only Indians to first realise the importance of playing in boots.[22][17] Aziz recruited Mohun Bagan rejects like Kaleh Khan and Hafiz Rahid in 1931, and also players from different parts of India were gradually brought in, often in the name of religion.[30] Players like Masum, Mahiuddin and Rahmat came from Bangalore, while Jumma Khan arrived from North-West Frontier Province, thus forming a truly cosmopolitan team.[31] The whole team had a Muslim core, with no players outside the community. This helped Aziz to create unmatched unity in his squad which showed on and off the field. In 1933, Mohammedan qualified for the premier division of CFL for the first time in its history by topping the second division. Under the captaincy of Khurshid Anwar, Mohammedan became the first native club to capture the CFL title in 1934, in their very first year in top division.[32] In March 1935, he was unanimously elected as the General Secretary of the club for the second time and in October that year he organised a successful tour to Rangoon, Mandalay, Maymyo, Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Madras, Bangalore and Mysore for the football team.[29] That year, the captain's armband was handed over to the young and charismatic Abbas Mirza and later in the summer, Mohammedan recruited goalkeeper Osman Jan from Crescent Club in Delhi. With Osman Jan under the bar, Taj Mohammad and Jumma Khan, were part of a strong and formidable back-line.[30] The trio of Rahim, Hafiz Rashid and Rahmat led the goalscoring duties and, Rashid and Rahim would go on to become the league's top scorer in 1935 with 16 goals and 1938 with 18 goals respectively.[31] Along with new and young recruits every year, two defining names remained constant in the team – Syed Abdus Samad, who joined in 1933, and Mohammed Salim, who returned for a second spell in 1934.[33][34][35][36][37] In 1936, Mohammedan became the first all-Indian team since 1911 to win IFA Shield by defeating Calcutta CFC in the final by 2–1 with goals from Rashid Jr. and Rahim.[38] With their third league win that year, they also became the first Indian club to win the League-Shield "double".[31] During this time, Salim took trials at Celtic FC, and was selected for the team but after playing two friendlies in Scottish Football Alliance, he returned to Mohammedan being homesick, even though being offered contracts from Celtic as well as from clubs in Germany.[39] Thus, he became the first Indian to play for a foreign club.[40] From 1934 to 1938, Mohammedan won the league for record five consecutive times and missed out the title only once in 1939 from 1934 to 1941, when they declined to play in protest against IFA.[41][42][43] By this time Mohammedan became the undisputed Invincibles of CFL and football in India was no more only about the British against the Indians but also the Hindus (via Mohun Bagan and East Bengal Club) versus the Muslims.[26]

 
1940 CFL winning team.
 
Mohammed Salim, played for Mohammedan during 1926–1927 and 1934–1937.
 
Football Jadukor (transl. Football Magician) Syed Abdus Samad played for Mohammedan from 1933 to 1938, became CFL champion five years in a row.

Mohammedan's another great achievement came in the form of Durand Cup, which was then reserved only for British and British-Indian regimental teams until 1940, when civilian teams were also allowed to participate due to most regiments called in for World War II. The final was scheduled on 12 December 1940 at Irwin Amphitheatre in New Delhi and numerous eminent Muslim politicians flew in from far-off cities like Calcutta, Dhaka, Hyderabad and Bhopal, while common supporters arrived in trains and tongas to watch the match.[44] It was also the first time a football game of such importance was being officiated by an Indian referee, Captain Harnam Singh.[44] Along with around 1,00,000 spectators, as per traditions, Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India, stood witness as Mohammedan defeated Royal Warwickshire Regiment 2–1, under the captaincy of Masum and goals coming from Rashid and Saboo.[44][45][46] This victory by a team of only Muslim players at the capital city provided a massive boost to the Muslim national movement in the country.[44] They also captured the Rover's Cup without conceding a goal in the tournament and beating Bangalore Muslims FC 1–0 in the final, thus creating another unique record of holding CFL, Durand Cup and Rover's Cup titles all in the same year.[30] Their successes led to frenzied support from Muslims in every city of India, followed by increased number of donations to improve the club. They had an abundance of finances and were the first Indian team to play with boots, with a focus on proper diet and physical fitness for their players.[44] In 1941, they won their second Shield, when they beat King's Own Scottish Borderers in the final. They also became the first Indian team to score 100 goals in a year, when they scored 110 goals in all competitions that year.[47] They also became the first Indian club to retain the Shield, when they saw off East Bengal's challenge in 1942 final with a goal from Noor Mohammad. Due to the huge popularity, in 1943, Kaiser Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, the Prime Minister of Nepal, came all the way to Calcutta to play for Mohammedan, thus he became the first non-Muslim and Hindu player to don Mohammedan colours.[47] The following years until the Independence of India, Mohammedan lost its dominance and failed to bring back any major silverware into their club tent.

Considerable period of success (1947–1980)

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After the partition in 1947, the club lost many of its elite patrons, members as well as players, who chose to move to newly formed Islamic state of Pakistan, and soon there was a struggle to run which became evident with the club's performance in major tournaments. Yet, few players returned to continue playing for Mohammedan as foreign nationals. Regardless, the club managed to win the first CFL title in the post-independent India in 1948.[47] Mohammedan continued to bring in numerous football talents from the neighboring country, including Pakistani international Masood Fakhri, who joined the club in 1955.After 8 years of title drought, Mohammedan went on to win the Rover's Cup for the second time in 1956 by beating the defending champions Mohun Bagan 3–1 in the final. The Rover's Cup win paved the way to regain Mohammedan's lost dominance over football in India and bagged the League-Shield double of CFL and IFA Shield next year. In the league, Mohammedan surpassed East Bengal by a point and defeated Railways 3–0 in the Shield final. By the 1960s, Mohammedan changed its rules and formed teams with players from other communities too. In 1960, as a top club of India, Mohammedan was invited to the Aga Khan Gold Cup, which was at that time considered a continental tournament to determine the unofficial Asian champions. Held in Dhaka, Mohammedan became the first Indian side to win a trophy on foreign soil, beating the Perserikatan champions Persatuan Sepakbola Makassar 4–1 in the final.[48][44] The match is still considered to be one of the greatest matches ever played in Dhaka, and also featured renowned Pakistani forward Muhammad Umer Baloch for Mohammedan.[49] Despite considerably low performance domestically, Mohammedan was still one of the biggest crowd pullers, especially in Delhi, during Durand Cup and DCM Trophy.[50] The next CFL success came only after a decade since their last win, when Mohammedan became the champions without losing a single match, registering their tenth CFL title. In 1971, Mohammedan won the IFA Shield without conceding a goal and by defeating Tollygunge Agragami FC 2–0 in the final.

 
Mohammedan goalkeeper Shakeel Ahmed jumping up for clearing the ball during a match.

Gradual downfall and a period of major failure (1981–2019)

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Majid Bishkar played for Mohammedan from 1982 to 1987.

In the 80s, the success came at the beginning with Mohammedan winning the '81 CFL unbeaten for the third time, surpassing Mohun Bagan by a point. The following year, Mohammedan appointed one of the iconic Indian footballers, Syed Nayeemuddin to coach the team and also roped in the biggest foreign names, Iranian duo Majid Bishkar and Jamshid Nassiri, from their local rivals East Bengal.[51][52][53][54] Bishkar became the first player to play for Mohammedan with the experience of appearing in FIFA World Cup. In 1983, Mohammedan won its first Federation Cup, which was then the only true national championship, by defeating Mohun Bagan 2–0 in the final,[55] and successfully defended the Cup by defeating East Bengal 1–0 in the next year's final. In 1985, they signed Nigerian striker Chima Okorie from Chandigarh FC, who was considered one of the greatest foreign players in India.[56][57] The later 80s saw a continued drop in performance, winning only minor silverwares with only major success coming in the form of 1987 Rover's Cup. In 1990, Mohammedan participated in the Jawaharlal Nehru Centenary Club Cup, which was the only international club tournament held in India.[58] Mohammedan, as the only Indian team, qualified for the semi-finals by defeating the Zambian national team 1–0 and FC Metalist 1925 Kharkiv 1–0 but losing 2–0 to Gimnasia Esgrima.[58] In the semi-final, Mohammedan lost 1–0 to Paraguayan Primera División champion Club Olimpia.[59][60] Nigerian midfielder Emeka Ezeugo of Mohammedan was awarded Taj Bengal Trophy for player of the tournament.[59] Mohammedan was nominated from India to participate in the 1992–93 Asian Cup Winners' Cup and was scheduled to play against Omani Professional League champions Fanja SC in the first round but they withdrew their team from the competition.[61][62] Near the end of the century, all the 'Big Three' clubs of Maidan faced serious financial jeopardy due to increased expenses to compete at the top level and limited source of income, only relying upon supporters' fund and contributions from individuals often belonging to political field.[26] The players were being unpaid for months at a time and coaches were frequently being replaced due to unimproved performance. Mohammedan's trophy drought continued and in 1996 they became one of the founding members of India's first national league – National Football League (NFL). Under the coaching of newly appointed Mridul Banerjee, Mohammedan finished in the bottom two of group table and was relegated to NFL 2nd Division in their debut season.[63][64][65] In 1996, the club took part in Bangabandhu Cup in Bangladesh.[66] In the following season, Mohammedan finished in the bottom half of the group table, therefore getting relegated from NFL 2nd Division as well. During this time, Vijay Mallya owned United Breweries Group, made partnership offers to Mohammedan along with the other two Maidan clubs – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, but the club being named after Muhammad refused to accept funding from a liquor brand.[26]

 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is being introduced with the Mohammedan players, during the inauguration of the 2006–07 NFL on January 5, 2007.

After two seasons, Mohammedan once again qualified for NFL 2nd Division in 2000–01 only to get relegated once again. With hopes of improving the standards, Mohammedan signed their first foreign coach, former Nigerian club player, Chibuzor Nwakanma.[67] In the next season, the club played in the NFL 2nd Division under the coaching of Mohammed Habib and achieved promotion by finishing second in the final league table. Club icon, Nassiri, was put in-charge for the club's second NFL campaign by newly appointed technical director, PK Banerjee, a renowned footballer as well as coach himself, but Mohammedan suffered another relegation. With the return of Habib as the coach, the club successfully won the 2004–05 NFL 2nd Division, thereby achieving promotion. With renowned tactician Subhas Bhowmick at the helm, the club finished eighth in the 2005–06 NFL and avoided relegation from NFL for the first time, but the following season they eventually got relegated by finishing ninth in the table.

 
Inaugural match of 2006–07 NFL against JCT Mills at Ambedkar Stadium.

Until then NFL and NFL 2nd Division were semi-professional football leagues, but in 2007 the leagues were reformed into professional I-League and I-League 2nd Division respectively. With the appointment of Shabbir Ali as the official coach of the club, Mohammedan achieved promotion to 2008–09 I-League but got relegated after finishing eleventh in the table. In November 2010, Mohammedan organised Platinum Jubilee Celebration Cup tournament to commemorate the 75th anniversary of their 1934 CFL win, with Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and the world's oldest existing football club Sheffield FC being invited to play. As brand ambassador of Mohammedan, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly played for the club, wearing number 99 jersey, against East Bengal in a 1–0 defeat.[68][69][70] The tournament culminated with a Kolkata Derby, where East Bengal emerged victorious after a penalty shoot-out.[71] In 2013, under Sanjoy Sen, Mohammedan would achieve promotion to I-League and also put an end to a long wait for major success by winning Durand Cup and then the 2014 IFA Shield by beating Bangladesh Premier League runners-up Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club in the penalty shootout.[72][73][74] But once again faced relegation in the 2013–14 I-League after finishing at the bottom of the table.[75][76][77] Later in 2015, they participated in Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup in Bangladesh.[78]

The club showed major signs of reformation in 2016, when Ghazal Uz Zafar, a Kolkata-based young entrepreneur, took over as the General Secretary of the club.[79] It was under his secretaryship, the club became runners-up in 2016 CFL after eight years and also lifted the 2016 Sikkim Governor's Gold Cup for the first time since 1980 by defeating Jhapa XI of Nepal by 1–0.[80] In 2018, they emerged as the champions of Bordoloi Trophy, defeating Oil India Limited by 3–1 margin.[81] But their wait for success in the national league and other major tournaments was yet to come to an end.

Revival of the lost glory (2020–present)

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Match between Mohammedan and Goa in 2021 Durand Cup final at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

In October 2020, under the secretaryship of Sheikh Wasim Akram, Mohammedan for the first time entered into a joint-venture with a Gurgaon based sports management company Bunkerhill, with an aim to eventually qualify or enter the Indian Super League, which had been promoted as the top-tier league in 2019.[82][83] With newly appointed Spanish coach José Hevia, Mohammedan got promoted to 2020–21 I-League after winning 2020 I-League Qualifiers, which temporarily had replaced the traditional I-League 2nd Division due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.[84][85] The club signed previous I-League season's top scorer, Pedro Manzi along with Bangladeshi football team captain Jamal Bhuyan for their AFC quota.[86][87] After Hevia being sacked mid-season, Mohammedan finished at sixth under their technical director Sankarlal Chakraborty.[88] In May 2021, the club appointed Russia's former assistant coach Andrey Chernyshov, and with him at the helm, Mohammedan reached the Durand Cup final for the first time since 2013 but fell short against FC Goa by just a solitary goal.[89][90][91][92] The following month, Mohammedan clinched their twelfth CFL title after forty long years of wait by defeating Railway FC 1–0 in the final of a newer and shorter knock-out format.[93][94] As one of the title contenders with Serbian midfielder Nikola Stojanović holding the captain's arm-band and Trinbagonian international Marcus Joseph leading the goalscoring charts by 15 goals, Mohammedan for the first time ran for their maiden national league title at 2021–22 I-League, but finished second after a 2–1 defeat against the table toppers Gokulam Kerala FC on the final matchday in a must win situation.[95][96]

 
Mohammedan Sporting players (in white and black) in action against Shillong Lajong during an away match of I-League in Meghalaya, 2024.

In October, the club retained their CFL title.[97] On 6 April 2024, Mohammedan scripted history winning their maiden I-League title in 2023–24 season, which helped the club securing promotion to the Indian Super League.[98][99]

Crest, colours and kits

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Mohammedan Sporting line-up during an I-League match in February 2024

Crest

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The crest of Mohammedan Sporting Club is derived from the typical Islamic iconographic symbol used in various historical contexts. It has the star and crescent in middle, which is partially surrounded by floral patterns and, the name of the club, its year of foundation and the country based inscribed below within the shapes of waving banners.[100] The colour of the crest is also in accordance to the Quranic colour of green.

Colours

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James Moga at Mohammedan's kit launch for 2016–17 season.

The club had adopted the nickname of Black Panthers since their Blank Panther inspired jerseys for 2020–21 season, which also resembled their traditional club colours of black (primary) and white (secondary), hence historically they were often termed as "সাদা–কালো ব্রিগেড" (transl. Black and White Brigade).[101][102][103][104][105]

 
Nigerian player Kareem Omolaja in Mohammedan kit, 2016.

Kit manufacturer and shirt sponsors

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Year Manufacturer Primary sponsor
1891–2005 None None
2005–2007 Reebok[106] Elegant Steel & Metal Works[107]
2007–2008 Reliance Group[108]
2008–2009 Eastern Minerals and Trading Agency
2009–2016 None None
2016–2019 Kaizen Sports[109] Orion Impression
2019–2020 Rocky Sports[110] None
2020–2021 Trak-Only[111] Bunkerhill[112][113]
2021–2022 Hummel[114]
2022–2023 Trak Only[115]
2023–present SIX5SIX[116]

Slogan

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"Jan Jan Mohammedan" (Bengali: 'জান জান মহামেডান') is the slogan popular among club supporters.[117]

Stadiums

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Historically, to host their home games, the club has used several grounds in Kolkata, Howrah, Barasat and Kalyani, including Eden Gardens, which has been reserved for cricket since Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan opened in 1984.[118]

Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan

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The Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata

Mohammedan plays its major fixtures at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, commonly called Salt Lake Stadium, located in the suburb of Bidhannagar in Kolkata.[119] A multi-purpose stadium owned by the Government of West Bengal under Youth Affairs and Sports Department, the VYKB primarily hosts football matches, apart from occasional track and field events. The stadium was built in 1984, predominately for matches like Kolkata Derby that featured attendance too huge for the grounds in Maidan to accommodate. Before its renovation in 2011, it was the largest football stadium in the world by capacity of 120,000. Prior to the construction and opening of Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in 1989, it was the largest football stadium in the world. It is currently the fourth largest sports stadium in Asia by capacity. The gigantic stadium features three tiers of concrete galleries with nine entry gates, including a VIP gate, and 30 ramps for the spectators to reach the viewing blocks. The stadium has been mostly used to host major home games like in the Indian Super League, National Football League and the I-League.

Mohammedan Sporting Ground

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The Mohammedan Sporting Ground is operated by Mohammedan, which is located in Maidan on the northern side of Fort William and adjacent to the club tent. The ground has natural grass turf with a capacity of 25,000.[120][121] After the renovations in 2017, the ground was installed with floodlights, an air-conditioned press room and a gymnasium named after The Greatest Muhammad Ali to honour his visit to the club in December 1990.[122] Currently, the stadium mostly hosts matches of the Calcutta Football League,[123] lower division leagues and youth tournaments.[124][125]

Rivalry

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Rivalry of the Big Three

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Tifo displaying fans of (left to right) Mohammedan, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal united as the 12th man in support for India at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in 2019.

Mohammedan has significant rivalry with the neighbouring clubs – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.[126] The initiation of the feuds goes back to the early 30s, when Mohammedan came out as a dominant contender for Calcutta Football League by winning seven out of eight titles from 1934 to 1941. Since then until 1958, all the CFL titles were won among these three rival clubs, often referred as the Big Three of Maidan (Bengali: ময়দানের তিন প্রধান),[127] and even in other major tournaments like Durand Cup, Rover's Cup and IFA Shield, the three clubs contended against each other for the honours.[128][129][130] The rivalry initially had a communal background since Mohammedan being a Muslim-only club representing the Muslim population of Kolkata, thereby forcing the Hindus in the city to compete via their support for Mohun Bagan and East Bengal even though they weren't communal clubs themselves. By the 1960s, communal tension involved in the feud became insignificant as the club began to regularly sign non-Muslim players as well.[131] But the club also lost their dominance in Indian football and after the inception of national tournaments like Federation Cup and National Football League, Mohammedan was no more a top club and mostly playing in the lower tiers. Thus, the club rarely met Mohun Bagan and East Bengal at major tournaments due to them being in the top tier. Unlike the ever fierce East Bengal-Mohun Bagan feud termed as Kolkata Derby, the matches including Mohammedan and Mohun Bagan or East Bengal is commonly termed as Mini Kolkata Derby.[132][133][134]

Players

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First-team squad

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As of 16 January 2024

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   IND Padam Chettri
2 DF   IND Thokchom James Singh
3 DF   IND Dettol Moirangthem (on loan from Classic FA)
4 MF   UZB Mirjalol Kosimov
5 DF   IND Karandeep Singh
6 MF   IND Abhishek Halder
7 FW   IND Beneston Barretto
8 MF   IND Sujit Singh
9 FW   BRA França
10 FW   ARG Alexis Gómez
11 MF   IND Wahengbam Angousana
13 MF   IND Abhijit Sarkar
14 DF   IND Zodingliana Ralte
15 DF   IND Dipu Halder
16 DF   IND Mohammed Irshad
17 FW   IND Denzil Kharshandi
18 MF   IND Meitalkeishangbam Roger
19 FW   IND David Lalhlansanga
20 MF   GHA Mohammed Kadiri
24 FW   IND William Lalgoulien
25 DF   IND Samad Ali Mallick (captain)
26 MF   IND Samuel Lalmuanpuia
No. Pos. Nation Player
27 FW   IND Bamiya Samad
28 DF   GHA Joseph Adjei
29 FW   IND Lalremsanga Fanai (on loan from Rajasthan United)
30 FW   CAF César Lobi Manzoki
31 GK   IND Kamaljit Singh
32 MF   IND Laishram Bedashwor Singh
33 GK   IND Lalbiakhlua Jongte (on loan from Hyderabad)
34 DF   IND Vanlalzuidika
35 GK   IND Rakibul Mallick
36 DF   IND Deep Biswas
47 FW   IND SK Faiaz
55 DF   IND Mohammed Jassim
69 GK   IND Jetli Sorokhaibam
99 MF   IND Tanmoy Ghosh

Personnel

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Technical staff

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As of August 2023
Position Name
Head coach   Andrey Chernyshov
Assistant coach   Alison Kharsyntiew
Goalkeeping coach   Lalit Thapa
Physio   Soumya Bhattacharjee
  Md. Belal Qureshi
Strength & conditioning coach   Arsalan Mirza
Performance analyst   Devrup J. Gupta
Masseur   Samir Biswas

Management

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Former Indian footballer Dipendu Biswas is the current football secretary as well as the team manager.
As of July 2023
Position Name
President   Amiruddin Bobby
Vice president   Mohammed Qamaruddin
General secretary   Ishtiaque Ahmed
Assistant general secretary   Sharique Ahmed
Treasurer   Mohammed Akram
Team manager & Football Secretary   Dipendu Biswas
Team manager & Asst. ground secretary   Belal Ahmed Khan
Assistant team manager   Diganta Das
Head of academy   Alison Kharsyntiew
Cricket secretary   Dipak K. Singh
Hockey secretary   Irfan Ali
Ground secretary   SK Moinuddin
Youth development chairman   Khaled Sadan
Kit manager   Omprakash Khatua
Media manager   Gourab Roy

Previous seasons

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Only the seasons since the introduction of a national league in 1996 has been stated below.

As of 22 August 2023
Season National leagues Regional league Domestic cup(s) Other honours
Div P W D L GD Pts Pos
National Football League/NFL 2nd Division Calcutta Premier Division Federation Cup
1996–97 1st 5 1 0 4 -3 3 5th of 6

(group stage)

5th Round of 16 Kohima Royal Gold Cup
1997–98 2nd 5 ? ? ? ? ? 5th of 6

(group stage)

4th Quarter-finalist
1998–99 Relegated to regional league 5th Semi-finalist
1999–00 4th Not held
2000–01 2nd 4 1 0 3 -2 3 4th of 5

(final stage)

3rd
2001–02 Relegated to regional league 6th Not eligible
2002–03 2nd 3 2 1 0 2 7 2nd of 4

(final stage)

2nd Not held
2003–04 1st 22 4 7 11 -19 19 11th 3rd Runners-up
2004–05 2nd 3 2 1 0 3 7 1st of 4

(final stage)

5th Round of 16
2005–06 1st 17 5 2 10 -14 17 8th 3rd Round of 16
2006–07 1st 18 2 6 10 -25 12 9th 3rd Quarter-finalist
I-League/I-League 2nd Division
2007–08 2nd 5 3 1 1 5 10 2nd of 6

(final stage)

5th Round of 16 Independence Day Cup
2008–09 1st 22 5 7 10 -14 22 11th 2nd Group Stage
2009–10 2nd 7 2 4 1 0 10 4th of 8

(final stage)

? Group Stage
2010–11 2nd 7 1 1 5 -5 4 7th of 8

(final stage)

? Qualifying play-offs All Airlines Gold Cup
2011–12 2nd 12 6 3 3 4 21 3rd of 7

(final stage)

? Group Stage
2012–13 2nd 10 5 3 2 3 18 2nd of 6

(final stage)

6th Group Stage Kalinga Cup
2013–14 1st 24 6 6 12 -8 24 13th 3rd Group Stage IFA Shield, Durand Cup
2014–15 2nd 14 8 2 4 12 23[a] 4th 4th
2015–16 2nd 10 4 3 3 2 12[b] 4th of 6

(final stage)

5th Not eligible
2016–17 2nd 6 3 1 2 4 10 3rd of 4

(Preliminary stage)

2nd Sikkim Gold Cup
Super Cup
2017–18 2nd 10 3 3 4 -1 12 5th of 6

(Preliminary stage)

3rd Not eligible
2018–19 2nd 10 5 1 4 8 16 3rd of 6

(Preliminary stage)

4th Bordoloi Trophy, Bodoland Gold Cup
Durand Cup[c]
2019–20 2nd 4 3 1 0 6 10 1st of 5

(final stage)

4th Group Stage Sikkim Gold Cup
Super Cup
2020–21 1st 15 5 5 5 -2 20 6th of 11 Cancelled[d] Cancelled[d]
2021–22 1st 18 11 4 3 16 37 2nd of 10 Champion[e] Not held
Durand Cup[f] Super Cup[f]
2022–23 2nd[g] 22 7 5 10 -1 26 8th of 12 Champion Semi-finalist Qualifying rounds
2023–24 2nd 24 15 7 2 24 52 1st of 13 Champion Group Stage Group Stage
Indian Super League
  1. ^ The club was penalized by the deduction of 3 points due to players' contract faults.
  2. ^ 3 points were by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee
  3. ^ After the cancellation of Super Cup due to COVID-19 pandemic, Durand Cup became the de facto domestic cup tournament.
  4. ^ a b Tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. ^ Tournament format was changed from league to league-cum-knockout.
  6. ^ a b Both Durand Cup as well as Super Cup became the domestic cup tournaments of India from 2022
  7. ^ The I-League was demoted to the second tier starting from the 2022–23 season, the ISL becoming the sole top-tier league.

Managerial history

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Dronacharya awardee Syed Nayeemuddin played and later managed Mohammedan Sporting.
 
Andrey Chernyshov secured the CFL title for Mohammedan Sporting twice.

Notable players

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Past and present internationals

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The players below have/had senior international cap(s) for their respective countries. Players whose name is listed, represented their countries before or after playing for Mohammedan SC.[182]

Asia

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Africa

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North America

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Honours

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International

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Domestic

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Mohammedan Sporting players with the I-League trophy at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in April 2024

League

Cup

Youth

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Awards

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Club records

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Overall records

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Notable wins against foreign teams

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As of matches played 1 April 2018
Competition Round Year Opposition Score Venue City Ref
Durand Cup Final 1940   Royal Warwickshire Regiment 2–1 Irwin Amphitheatre New Delhi [45]
IFA Shield Final 1941   King's Own Scottish Borderers 2–0 Eden Gardens Calcutta [237]
Aga Khan Gold Cup Final 1960   PSM Makassar 4–1 Dacca National Stadium Dhaka [48]
DCM Trophy Quarter-Final 1982   East Fremantle Tricolore 1–0 Ambedkar Stadium New Delhi [281]
Nehru Centenary Club Cup Group Stage 1990   Zambia national team 1–0 Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Kolkata [59]
Nehru Centenary Club Cup Group Stage 1990   Metalist 1925 Kharkiv 1–0 Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Kolkata [59]
IFA Shield Group Stage 2011   Shandong Luneng Taishan 1–0 Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Kolkata [282]
IFA Shield Final 2014   Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi 1–1
4–3 (p)
Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Kolkata [74]
Sikkim Gold Cup Final 2016   Jhapa XI 1–0 Paljor Stadium Gangtok [80]

Other departments

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Main entrance of the Mohammedan SC club tent at evening

Women's football

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Mohammedan Sporting women's football section was instituted for the first time in 2022 and participated in the 2022–23 Calcutta Women's Football League.[283] They went past the group stage and qualified for the knockouts, where they finished as semi-finalists in their inaugural season before losing to the eventual winners East Bengal.[284][285]

Cricket

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The cricket section of Mohammedan Sporting[286] is headquartered at the Tent Maidan,[287][288] and they practice at both Kolkata Maidan fields and Mohammedan Sporting Ground.[289][290] The men's cricket team primarily competes in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) First Division tournament,[291][292] and also participate in JC Mukherjee T-20 Trophy,[293][294][295] A. N. Ghosh Memorial Trophy, CAB One Day League and P. Sen Trophy.[296]

The women's cricket team of Mohammedan participates in the CAB run Bengal Women's T20 League. On 24 February 2022, they emerged champions in the league, defeating Rajasthan Club at Kalyani Stadium.[297][298][299]

Futsal

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Mohammedan SC participates in Futsal Club Championship,[300][301][302][303] highest level of club futsal competition in India. It is currently the only club from West Bengal to participate in the competition.[304][305][306]

Athletics

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The club has an athletics divisions for numerous track and field sports and the athletes represent the club in the annual athletics meet hosted all across the state,[307] including the ones hosted by the neighbouring sports club like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.

Hockey

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Club's hockey team is affiliated with Bengal Hockey Association (BHA).[308][309] Since the British rule in India, the club participated in prestigious tournaments like Beighton Cup and Calcutta Hockey League.[310] Mohammedan won the 1945 and 1959 editions of Calcutta Hockey League.[311][312] They also achieved runner-up position in Beighton Cup thrice in 1945, 1957 and 1981.[313] The hockey section was revived in 2024 for the edition of Calcutta Hockey League.[314]

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Legacy

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Mohammedan Sporting Club is not just a football club, it is also a symbol of national integrity and an example of the communal harmony.

— Ghazal uz Zafar, General Secretary of Mohammedan SC, on the club's role in Indian football (celebrating the 126th foundation day on 22 February 2017).[315]

The name of noted Bangladeshi club based in DhakaMohammedan Sporting Club — is derived from Mohammedan Sporting Club of Kolkata; The club also adopted a similar crest.[316][317][318] Members of the Nawab family of Dhaka established Muslim Sports Club as a local club for the youth.[319] A few years later, the family renamed the club as Mohammedan Sporting Club, after its more renowned predecessor Mohammedan Sporting of Kolkata.[320][321]

Club award

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Shaan-e-Mohammedan (transl. 'Pride of Mohammedan') is the lifetime achievement award presented by the club annually since 2015, to respect and laud footballing personalities for their indispensable contribution to the club during their career. The award is usually presented either on the foundation day of the club or on the occasion of Iftar when the club organises Dawat-e-Iftar (transl. Iftar Dinner) for the current and former players and coaches along with other distinct personalities.[322]

Shaan-e-Mohammedan recipients
Year Name Ref
2015 Mohammad Akbar [323]
2016 Prasun Banerjee [324]
2017 Syed Lateefuddin [325]
2018 Manas Bhattacharya [326]
2019 Victor Amalraj [327]
2020 Not awarded due to pandemic
2021
2022 Syed Nayeemuddin [328]
2023 Bhaskar Ganguly [329]

See also

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Footnotes

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  1. ^ Majid Bishkar is one of the only two foreigners to play for Mohammedan, appeared in the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
  2. ^ Emeka Ezeugo is one of the only two foreigners to play for Mohammedan, who appeared in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
  3. ^ The competition is widely regarded as the predecessor of AFC Champions League (held for the first time in 1967), since it was the first organized international competition that involved club teams around Asia, organized by the football authorities of East Pakistan, in collaboration with Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
  4. ^ I-League 2nd Division was replaced by a shorter cup tournament, I-League Qualifiers, due to COVID-19 pandemic regulations.
  5. ^ Fourth oldest football tournament, organized by the IFA (W.B.), and played between the local clubs of West Bengal and other invited ones.

References

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Bibliography

Further reading
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