A band of men; They were actually eleven. Dreamt a dream Yet unthought of, unseen. India, the country; Not yet free. The British were then Superior in every domain. The year was 1911 When this band of barmy men, Decided to take on the rulers Soccer grounds, their test of character. Studs on feet Wore the British. Barefooted the Indians countered Mental strength, their armour. The rival, was rivalled. The euphoria then, was unparalleled. Home team, new soccer champion. Their supremacy confirmed. A red-letter day indeed. An Indian soccer team’s heroic deed. This barmy band of eleven, Salute to their achievement.
PS : This poem is a poetic attempt of mine to highlight an important day in the history of Indian soccer. Our country doesn’t have much standing in the global soccer arena today. However, there was a time, when the British had introduced soccer in India and it became immensely popular as a sport in India. Yet the Indian clubs were no match for the fitter and hugely skilled British teams. Then on 29th July, 1911 all that changed. A popular Indian soccer club showed immense courage on the soccer field to take on the might of the East Yorkshire regiment’s soccer team and beat them to be crowned champions of IFA shield; a prestigious soccer tournament in British India then. Mohun Bagan, as they are named, were the first Indian team to defeat a British soccer team and become champions. Why their victory was an act of great courage was due to the fact that the British players wore football studs while the Indian team’s players played barefoot! For those interested, there is a Bengali movie by the name “Egaro” (Available on Youtube) which tells the tale of this historic soccer match.
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