India National Football Participation in International Matches

The India Football Team is a group of players which represents India in International level. It is governed by All India Football Federation (AIFF), which comes under the jurisdiction of FIFA. In Asia it is governed by Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and in South Asia it is governed by South Asian Football Federation (SAFF).

India has never qualified for FIFA! well, there are multiple reasons for this like the Rise of Cricket and giving more attention to other national games, but the main reason is poor management. FIFA is an international game and to get entry a country has to go through various other international matches and based on there performance they qualify. Lack of proper management has always degraded India’s football performance in the International level. However, since last decade The India Football Team has been playing many International cups and Friendly matches out of which in some of the cups they were consistent and were performing well.

The names of those tournaments are:

  1. AFC Asian Cup
  2. Intercontinental Cup
  3. SAFF Championship
  4. Summer Olympics
  5. King’s Cup
  6. Asian Cup
  7. Mardeka Tournament (Friendly Tournament)

Senior Men National Football International Tournament Lists

1.AFC Asian CupJanuary-February4 Years
2.Intercontinental Cup June2 years
3.SAFF Championship June-July2 years
4.Summer OlympicsJuly-August4 years
5.King’s CupSeptemberEvery year
6.Asian Games September-October4 years
7.Mardeka Tournament (Friendly tournament)OctoberEvery Year

India Senior Men National Football participates in total 7 International tournaments. Few tournaments are held every year ( King’s Cup, Mardeka Tournament), few matches are held after every 2 years ( Intercontinental Cup, SAFF Championship) and few matches are held after every 4 years ( AFC Asian Cup, Summer Olympics, Asian Games). Details of each tournaments along with India’s position in each tournament is given below:

#Note: Some tournaments may have been missed , once we will find it out we will update.

1. AFC Asian Cup

AFC Asian Cup is a senior-men football competition, which is contested between the members of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Since 2019, 24 countries participate in AFC Asian Cup which occur every 4 years. The duration of this game is from January-February ( Tentative). Next AFC Asian Cup will occur in 2024 in Qatar 24.

India Football team their first match in 1964 and were declared runners-up. Since then India qualified 5 times to play the AFC Cup but unfortunately they could win a single cup. India has qualified for the group stage in 2024 AFC Asian Cup. India is placed in Group B along with Australia, Uzbekistan and Syria.

2. Intercontinental Cup

The Intercontinental Cup is a football tournament played between 4 nations which is organized by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). It has replaced the Nehru Cup, and was first organized in 2018. Except India 3 other countries from different confederation participate in this Cup but those teams change every year. In 2023 teams that were part of this cup were India, Lebanon, Mongolia and Vanuatu. This Cup is conducted around June.

India Football Team played their first match in Intercontinental Cup was in 2018. India’s record in Intercontinental Cup is good as out of 3 sessions India won 2 of them. In 2023 India beat Lebanon to become the second-time title holder. In 2018 India was the winner and in 2019 India was in 4th place.

3. SAFF Championship

South Asian Football Federation Championship (SAFF) is an international men’s football competition which is organized by South Asian Football Federation (SAFF). Seven international teams participate in this championship. It occurs after every 2 years, but due to Covid-19, the scheduled matches were postponed to 2021 instead of 2020. This Championship is conducted from June-July.

India Football Team played their first match was in 1993. Till date, India is a part of this championship. India has won 9 titles (1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2021, 2023) becoming the only country to hold the maximum titles in SAFF Championship. India was also runners-up for 4 times (1995, 2008, 2013, 2018) and on 3rd place in 2003.

4. Summer Olympics

Summer Olympics is a international multi-sport event which is conducted after every 4 years. This game is also known as Games of the Olympiad. It first started in 1896. Football Tournament was first introduced in 1900 and till 2023 this game is part of the Olympics. Football tournament in Summer Olympics is also known as Olympics Football tournament. This tournament is held from July-August.

First match of India was in 1948, since then they were a part of this tournament in 1952, 1956 and 1960.

5. Kings Cup

The King’s Cup is a International Football competition which is organized by Football Association of Thailand (FAT) since 1968 in Thailand. This cup is held every year and is conducted in September. Four international teams take part in this tournament. Except Thailand rest 3 teams keeps on changing every year.

India Football Team played their first match in this tournament in 1977. Since then they have participated twice (2019,2023). In 1977 and 2019 India was in 3rd position and in 2023 India was in 4th position.

6. Asian Games

Asian Games is a continental multi-sport event (Asian Continent) that occurs after every 4 years and is conducted from September-October. This tournament is played among Asian athletes and sports teams. This game is organized by Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). This game is described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics Games. This tournament is held every year.

India Football Team played their first match in 1951. Since then till 2023 India is a part of this game. India have won gold medals twice (1951, 1962) and Bronze medal once (1958).

7. Mardeka Tournament ( Friendly tournament)

Mardeka Tournament is a friendly international tournament which is organized by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)in order to celebrate there Independence Day. This tournament is also mainly played at Independence Stadium, Kuala Lumpur. FIFA has considered Mardeka Tournament as International “A” matches. This tournament is conducted in October.

Indian Football first took part in this tournament in 1971 since then they have participated 3 times (1981, 2001, 2023). First time India reached the Semi-finals was in 1981 and second time in 2023.


Also Read,

  1. 2024 AFC Asian Cup India Schedule
  2. 2024 AFC Asian Cup Schedule

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