About History Of Football.

Not many people know how football began its journey in the valley and its history. Football was introduced in J&K in 1891-92 by Tyndale Biscoe, the founder of Mission School in Srinagar.

i-League 2nd Division Final Round: Aakif Javaid, Highest Indian goal scorer in the qualifying round.


i-League 2nd Division Final Round: Alexandra Tabillon.

As the time progressed, football became more popular and British, stationed in Srinagar, played most important part in that. They contributed much in development and promotion of the game in the state. Macan Mara, the then director Sericulture Department and Throps, the then Dy. Director raised a football team, which in course of time became one of the top teams of the state. Thus Sericulture department team was first football team of the valley. Young Hardow, the proprietor of the Hardo Carpet Factory formed a British football team in which British officials working in Telegraph Office Srinagar were included. British soldiers posted at Rawalpindi were being brought to play matches in Srinagar. This had a good effect on promotion of the game in the State, as local players by watching game of these players would learn new techniques. Friends Club, J&K Police (formed in 1932), Idgah Club, and Suliman Club of Dalgate were some of the top local football teams of the State in that period. The prominent and popular players of Friends Club were Ghulam Rasool Wadhera (Captain), Ghulam Ahmed Butkhu, Habib Bakshi. Muhammad Shaban Shera, Muhammad Ali and Prassad Ram. Idgah Football team was sponsored by Habib Kadoo, the famous wrestler of Kashmir.


In early 20th century, football had started its growth in the valley and regular matches were being played between the teams. But still the matches were confined to schools, clubs and no team had visited outside to play. Seeing this, SP College formed its football team. The team would figure in the tournaments, which were being played then. The performance of team was brilliant and usually figured in top four teams of tournament.

S P College football team also has the honor of being the first football team of Kashmir, which went to play outside the state in 1932. They played at Rawalpindi in Punjab University football tournament. It was a new experience for Kashmiri players to play outside the state. While Kashmiris players were playing bare feet, their opponents had latest gadgets. Inspite of all these shortcomings and against odds caused by hooting of college students and public, Kashmiri players gave good account of play losing only by small margin of one goal, score being 1:2.

From that year onwards, Kashmir College football team continued to participate in University football matches of the Punjab University. The prominent players of the S P College were Prof. Saif-ud-Din, M D Jan, G H Shawl, Ali Muhammad Bhat, Ghulam Muhammad Wadera, Habibullah Wedera and Jalal-ud-din.

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i-League 2nd Division Final Round: Ifham Mir.

i-League 2nd Division Final Round: Captain Vinay Kumar, Defender.

i-League 2nd Division Final Round: Arun Nangiyal.


Football is most popular game in valley today, credit goes to Tyndale Biscoe. In autumn of 1891, Biscoe brought one football from Mumbai to Srinagar. At the time idea of introducing football in the valley was making rounds in Biscoe’s mind. After arriving in the valley, Biscoe with this beautiful idea went to CMS School Fateh Kadal. He talked of football with his students, but only few seconds later his dreams were broken as all the students refused to play the new game.

Students asked Biscoe, “What is this?” he replied, “It is a football.” Students said asked what is done with it and Biscoe replied it is used to play a game called football, a very nice game.

Till then questions were simple and most usual ones but what followed made things worse for Biscoe and his dreams seemed diminishing. Student asked from what material it has been made, Biscoe replied, leather. Student said, then we will never play this game because we cannot touch it. Biscoe who was determined to make his students play, didn’t listen to them and said in furious tone, “You have to play this game today at 3 pm.” Biscoe immediately started to make his students aware of the rules and other related facts about it.

But contrary to this Biscoe heard before the closure of school that students are against this game and they have made their mind not to play. Biscoe gave his staff members’ instructions about carrying all students to playing field. He also instructed them to carry sticks in their hands, otherwise students will run away. At exact 3 pm, students tried to runway, but they saw all teachers carrying sticks. Teachers carried them like a bunch of cattle towards playing field. Field was cleaned and football was kept in centre of it and Biscoe blew the starting whistle but none of the students moved. Biscoe thought that students were not able to understand the whistle and he blew it again, but this time too students did not move.

Biscoe asked students the reason and they replied that they are Brahmans and can’t touch leather, as it was considered impure. Biscoe glared at all of them and got watch out of his pocket and told students that if in five minutes they will not start the game, he will instruct teachers who were standing nearby to beat them. Five minutes passed, but none of them moved and Biscoe called upon teachers. The students started to play. There was total chaos as all the students started to kick the ball from all corners. Amid all this ball struck to mouth of a Brahmin student and there was pin drop silence as he started to cry. They were all looking furiously at Biscoe, but suddenly one word got into the mind of Biscoe that was ‘water’. Yes it was water that did the trick. Biscoe asked teachers to carry this student nearby Jehlum River for bath to clear impurity. It worked, hearing this they all started to play and football became popular game.


During regime of Maharaja Hari Singh, football at Srinagar was controlled by a Committee with the D.I.G Police as its chairman and Professor Gani Ram (Mathematics Professor of SP College) as its organising secretaries. Two tournaments, one termed as Circle tournament and the other Raj Tilak were being played during that period.

Twelve or fourteen teams were participating in these tournaments. Raj Tilak tournament was being played in spring season, and circle tournament in autumn. Both the tournaments were being played on knockout basis at SP College ground. The tournaments used to generate lot of enthusiasm by the participants and public. Thousands of spectators would witness matches especially when Friends Club, Silk Factory or Police team were in contest. Football was popular game in the state from its birth.

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i-League 2nd Division Final Round: Lancine ‘ The Wall’ Toure , Defender


After partition of the country in 1947, control of football in Kashmir was taken up by the Kashmir Olympic Association (KOA), which organized knockout tournaments and also some exhibition matches in a year. The KOA also managed to send Kashmir Football XI to Durand Football Tournament for participation. The control of KOA over game of football in Kashmir continued up to the 1964 when J&K Football Association was formed. It was the new era and since then revolution in football started in the valley. From 1964, the JKFA became the governing body of football in the state and framed its own constitution.


The first State football team for participation in the national football tournament for Santosh Trophy was sent in 1964 to Gowahati (Assam) with SA Hameed as captain of and Nand Lal Bakaya as manager. In first Santosh Trophy tournament, the J&K Football XI made good performance. It drew against Kerala team in the first match, but lost by one goal on the second day.

50 years have passed since and J&K has been the regularly participating in the premier event. Till now, the state team has been able to qualify from group stage only thrice. J&K qualified first time in Margoan Goa edition of trophy in 1973 and second time it qualified in 1978 when J&K was the host under the captainship of Muhammad Yousuf Dar the first senior international and professional player of the State.

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LoneStar Kashmir FC Vs United Red Sopore: Alexandra.


Till late eighties, football fever in the valley was at its peak, but due to disturbances like all other sports activities, football also suffered. But from last year, it seems that football has retained its lost glory. Many former players believe that football is destined to regain its lost glory and the formation of Kashmir

In seventies and eighties Kashmir along with Kolkata, Kerala and Goa was considered as hub of football in India. Now all the hopes are on Kashmir FC making their debut in I-League this season. If it turns out as mega successes, then it will open doors for other mega tournaments in the valley.