Mohammedan Sporting Club History: From Humble Beginnings to Indian Football Royalty 

Buckle up, fans! You’re about to take a trip through the mind-blowing Mohammedan Sporting Club history.  

This iconic Kolkata club, founded in 1887, has finally made its way to the Indian Super League after years of struggle. Get ready to unravel the untold tales – from their trailblazing roots and legendary players to fierce derby clashes that defined an era.

This is the gripping Mohammedan Sporting Club history you can’t miss!

Mohammedan Sporting Club History ( Trophies, Culture, Legacy, and more) 

The beginning (1887-1930) 

In 1887, a group led by Khan Bahadur Aminul Islam started a sporting club in Kolkata called the Jubilee Club. It underwent a few name changes, becoming the Crescent Club and then the Hamidia Club. 

Fast forward to 1891! The club finally got a permanent name – Mohammedan Sporting Club. This name signified that the team would represent the Bengali Muslim community in Calcutta.

Back in the day, Mohammedan SC wasn’t all about representing just one community. The club’s members were cool with their rivals like Mohun Bagan, who had fans from both Hindu and Muslim backgrounds.

Guess what? When Mohun Bagan won the IFA Shield in 1911, the Mohammedan Sporting Club members went crazy happy for their friends from the other team!

In the 1920s, Khan Sahib Syed Ahmed Rashid played a crucial role in the club’s growth. He was elected Joint Secretary from 1925 to 1932 and took a keen interest in sports and social life in Bengal. Finally, in 1927, Mohammedan Sporting Club had enough money to join the second division of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) 

To raise funds, the Joint Secretaries appealed to the public for support, requesting donations of ₹3,500 to ₹4,500. The idea was clear; With better performances and investment, the club could build stronger teams across various sports.

During the Indian independence movement’s Satyagraha, Rashid ensured Mohammedan participated in tournaments like the Monsoon League and CFL when other local clubs were boycotting events. This was appreciated by sports bodies like the IFA, Bengal Hockey Association, and Cricket Board of Control in Bengal and Assam. 

The initial days of Mohammedan were hot and cold. But little did anyone know, Mohammedan SC’s real glory days were just around the corner.

The Golden Era (1931-1947) 

In 1931, club official CA Aziz had a plan. He wanted to build a strong team. Aziz recruited players rejected by other clubs like Mohun Bagan. He brought in Kaleh Khan and Hafiz Rahid, and gradually added players from across India, often based on their religion.

Aziz built a truly cosmopolitan team with a Muslim core. Players like Masum, Mahiuddin, and Rahmat came from Bangalore, while Jumma Khan joined from North-West Frontier Province. This all-Muslim squad had unmatched unity on and off the field.

In 1933, Mohammedan qualified for the Calcutta Football League’s (CFL) premier division for the first time by topping the second division. Under captain Khurshid Anwar, they became the first native club to win the CFL in 1934, their debut season in the top division!

The next year, Aziz organized a successful tour to cities like Rangoon, Colombo, and Bangalore. The captain’s armband went to the young and charismatic Abbas Mirza, and they recruited goalkeeper Osman Jan from Delhi’s Crescent Club.

With Osman Jan in goal, and Taj Mohammad and Jumma Khan in a solid defense, Mohammedan were formidable. Rahim, Hafiz Rashid, and Rahmat led the attack, with Rashid and Rahim becoming the league’s top scorers in 1935 and 1938 respectively.

Two constants in the team were Syed Abdus Samad (who joined in 1933) and Mohammed Salim (who returned in 1934). In 1936, they became the first all-Indian team since 1911 to win the IFA Shield, defeating Calcutta CFC 2-1 in the final. They also completed a historic League Shield double!

During this time, Mohammed Salim even had a trial at Celtic FC and played two friendlies in the Scottish Football Alliance! Though offered contracts from Celtic and German clubs, he returned to Mohammedan, becoming the first Indian to play for a foreign club.

From 1934 to 1938, Mohammedan won a record 5 consecutive league titles! By now, Indian football was no longer just the British vs Indians, but also a battle between the Hindus (Mohun Bagan, East Bengal) and the Muslims (Invincibles of Mohammedan).

The Historic Durand Cup Win (1940)

Mohammedan Sporting Club made history when they won the Durand Cup in 1940. Back then, this tournament was only open to British and British-Indian army teams. But that year, civilian teams were finally allowed to participate because most regiments were called in for World War II.

The final was played on 12th December 1940 at the Irwin Amphitheatre in New Delhi. Muslim Politicians from cities like Calcutta, Dhaka, Hyderabad, and Bhopal also attend the match. It was a massive event, with around 100,000 spectators, including the Viceroy of India himself!

 This was a groundbreaking moment – the first time an Indian referee (Captain Harnam Singh) officiated such an important game.

In an epic clash, captained by Masum, Mohammedan defeated the Royal Warwickshire Regiment 2-1, with goals from Rashid and Saboo. Becoming the first Indian team to win the prestigious Durand Cup trophy. 

Mohammedan’s victory, an all-Muslim team triumphing in the capital, gave a huge boost to the Muslim national movement in India. 

They didn’t stop there – they also won the Rover’s Cup without conceding a single goal, beating Bangalore Muslims FC 1-0 in the final. This meant they held the CFL, Durand Cup, and Rover’s Cup titles all in the same year – a unique record!

Their success led to frenzied support from Muslims across India. 

Post-Independence Era (1947- 1980) 

After the Partition in 1947, many elite fans, members, and players of Mohammedan Sporting Club moved to Pakistan. The club struggled to perform well in major tournaments.

However, some players returned as foreign nationals to keep playing for Mohammedan. In 1948, the club won the CFL title, the first in post-independent India.

Mohammedan kept bringing in talents from Pakistan. Masood Fakhri became the first Pakistani international to sign with them in 1955.

After an 8-year drought, Mohammedan won the Rover’s Cup in 1956. They beat defending champions Mohun Bagan 3-1 in the final.

This win revived Mohammedan’s dominance in Indian football. The next year, they won the CFL and IFA Shield double. They finished 1 point above East Bengal in the league and defeated Railways 3-0 in the Shield final.

In the 1960s, Mohammedan included players from other communities too and this was a significant change in the club’s history 

In 1960, as India’s top club, they were invited to the Aga Khan Gold Cup. Mohammedan created history by becoming the first Indian side to win abroad. They beat Indonesia’s Persatuan Sepakbola Makassar 4-1 in the final in Dhaka.

This match, featuring Pakistani star Mohammad Omar Baloch, is considered one of Dhaka’s greatest ever.

Though not performing well domestically, Mohammedan still drew massive crowds, especially in Delhi. 

Their next CFL triumph came a decade later. Mohammedan won their 10th title without losing a single match.

In 1971, they lifted the IFA Shield unbeaten, defeating Tollygunge Agragami FC 2-0 in the final.

The Downfall (1981-2019) 

In the 80s, Mohammedan started strong by winning the 1981 CFL unbeaten – their third time.

They appointed Syed Nayeemuddin as coach and signed Iranian stars Majid Bishkar and Jamshid Nassiri from East Bengal. Bishkar was the first Mohammedan player with FIFA World Cup experience.

Mohammedan won their first Federation Cup in 1983, defeating Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the final. They defended the title by beating East Bengal 1-0 next year.

In 1985, they signed Nigerian striker Chima Okorie, considered one of India’s greatest foreign players.

The late 80s saw a slump, with their only major success being the 1987 Rover’s Cup.

In 1990, Mohammedan qualified for the semi-finals of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centenary Cup – India’s only international club tournament then. Nigerian midfielder Emeka Ezeugo was named player of the tournament.

By the 90s end though, Kolkata’s ‘Big Three’ clubs – Mohammedan, Mohun Bagan, and East Bengal – were facing some serious money troubles. Players weren’t getting paid for months, coaches were being fired left and right. It was chaos!

In 1996, Mohammedan became one of the founding clubs of the National Football League (NFL). But sadly, they got relegated in their very first season. 

Around that time, United Breweries, which was owned by Vijay Mallya, wanted to partner with them. But since Mohammedan’s named after Prophet Muhammad, they straight up refused to take money from a liquor brand. Respect!

After multiple relegations and promotions, they finally made it back to the NFL top division in 2004-05 under coach Mohammed Habib’s guidance.

Then in 2008-09, they got promoted to the big leagues – the I-League! But their joy was short-lived as they got relegated again. 

In 2010 though, they celebrated their 75th anniversary in style with the Platinum Jubilee Cup tournament. And guess who played for them against East Bengal? None other than the legendary Sourav Ganguly himself! 

A few years later in 2013-14, under coach Sanjoy Sen, they finally ended their long wait for major trophies by winning the Durand Cup and the IFA Shield. But then they got relegated from the I-League again after finishing rock bottom.

Things started looking up again in 2016 when Ghazal Uz Zafar took over as the club’s General Secretary. Under his leadership, they became runners-up in the CFL after 8 long years! They also won the Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup in 2016 – their first time since 1980!

More recently in 2018, they lifted the Bordoloi Trophy by defeating Oil India 3-1. Gotta give them props for that!

But their wait for success in the national league continued. Until…

Resurgence ( I-League Champions & ISL Promotion) 

In October 2020, Mohammedan made a power move under the leadership of Sk. Wasim Akram. They teamed up with a sports management company called Bunkerhill, based in Gurgaon. Their goal? To eventually qualify for or enter the Indian Super League

With the Spanish coach José Hevia at the helm, they got promoted to the 2020-21 I-League season after winning the qualifiers. This replaced the usual I-League 2nd Division due to COVID restrictions.

Get this – they signed Pedro Manzi, the top scorer from the previous I-League season! And to meet the AFC quota, they brought in Jamal Bhuyan, the captain of the Bangladeshi national team. Pretty impressive, right?

Midway through the season, Hevia got sacked. But under their technical director Sankarlal Chakraborty, Mohammedan finished a respectable sixth.

In May 2021, they appointed Andrey Chernyshov, the former assistant coach of the Russian national team! With him in charge, Mohammedan reached the Durand Cup final for the first time since 2013. Sadly, they lost to FC Goa by just one goal.

But the following month, they had reason to celebrate. Mohammedan won their 12th CFL title after a massive 40-year wait! They defeated Railway FC 1-0 in the final of the new knockout format.

The 2021-22 I-League season was a thriller! Mohammedan emerged as a title contender with Serbian midfielder Nikola Stojanović as captain and Trinbagonian striker Marcus Joseph leading the goalscoring charts with 15 goals!

For the first time ever, they were in the running for their maiden national league title. But lady luck wasn’t on their side – they finished second after a 2-1 loss to table-toppers Gokulam Kerala FC on the final matchday when they needed a win.

In October, Mohammedan retained their CFL crown – back-to-back champions! You love to see it.

Mohammedan SC was on the rise again and finally, their wait ended. 

Mohammedan SC won the I-League 2023-24 for the first time in their 133-year history and also earned a promotion to the Indian Super League. 

Club Colors and Home Ground 

Club Colours

Since its inception, Mohammedan have worn Black and White colored jerseys thus they are often termed as the black and white brigade. 

In 2020-21 Mohammedan earned the nickname of Black Panther thanks to their Jersey inspired by the Marvel movie. 

Home Stadium 

For home games, they’ve used various grounds across Kolkata, Howrah, Barasat, and Kalyani over the years, including the iconic Eden Gardens. 

But since 1984, their major matches have been played at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYKB) or Salt Lake Stadium.

This massive multi-purpose stadium was once the largest football venue in the world! Even now, it’s the 4th biggest in Asia with a capacity of 120,000. Mohammedan has hosted big NFL and I-League games here.

They also have their own Mohammedan Sporting Ground in Maidan near Fort William. After renovations in 2017, it got floodlights, a press room, and even a Muhammad Ali gymnasium! This 25,000-seater is used for Calcutta League, lower divisions, and youth games.

So the VYKB is their grand stage, while the Sporting Ground is their home turf for grooming talents. Quite the combo of iconic venues for the Black Panthers!


Mohammedan had a huge rivalry with neighbors Mohun Bagan and East Bengal back in the day.

It started in the 1930s when Mohammedan dominated the Calcutta Football League, winning 7 out of 8 titles from 1934-1941. Till 1958, only these three ‘Big Three of Maidan’ clubs won the CFL.

They constantly battled for top honors in tournaments like the Durand Cup, Rover’s Cup, and IFA Shield. Initially, it had a communal angle as Muslim-only Mohammedan represented Kolkata’s Muslim population.

By the 1960s, as Mohammedan signed non-Muslim players too, the communal tension faded. But they lost dominance, playing in lower tiers due to new national tournaments.

So Mohammedan rarely faced Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, the top clubs, in major events. Unlike the intense Kolkata Derby, their matches are called the ‘Mini Kolkata Derby’.

With Mohammedan’s arrival in the ISL, this rivalry which had cooled down will be reignited again. 


Who is the founder of Mohammedan SC?

Mohammedan Sporting Club was founded as “Jubilee Club” in 1887 under the leadership of Nawab Aminul Islam

When was Mohammedan Sporting Club founded?

The Mohammedan Sporting Club was founded on 22nd February 1981.

Which league is Mohammedan SC?

Mohammedan SC played in the I-league, which is the second division of Indian Football.

They Will be Playing in the Indian Super League from the 2024-25 season. 


What a ride for the Mohammedan Sporting Club! From humble starts to Indian football royalty, they’ve seen glory, downfalls, and now an epic resurgence.

Their never-say-die spirit helped brave struggles. Winning the I-League and reaching the ISL is a dream achieved. The iconic venues will rock with frenzied fans again.

The historic rivalry with Mohun Bagan and East Bengal could also be reignited. Mohammedan’s remarkable journey continues as a new era dawns for the Black and White Brigade.

Get ready, fans! Greater glory awaits the Black Panthers!

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Written by TackleFromBehind

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