Sailen Manna & India’s Barefoot Football Team | Brief History Of

Sailen Manna & India’s Barefoot Football Team | Brief History Of

We all know India as a cricket crazy nation
but it’s very hard to believe that there was an Footballer by name of Sailen Manna
who nearly took the country to 1950 FIFA World Cup only to be withdrawn at the last moment
by the Indian football Governing body (AIFF). Sailendranth Manna also known as Sailen Manna
was an Indian footballer born in Kolkata on 1st September 1924. He represented and captained
Indian football team in Olympics and Asian games, at club level he represented one of
India’s biggest club “Mohun Bagan” [MO-HUN BAH-GAAN]. One of his biggest achievements as a Football
player was representing a newly independent India at the London Olympic Games in 1948
where India almost beat France 2-1, as the saying goes they might have lost the match
but they won the hearts of the people for their effort. The Indian team was also the
only team to play the tournament with bare feet (which was allowed until 1950 World Cup).
One of the main reasons why the team played barefoot was because they couldn’t afford
boots; Manna himself played for free at Club level and paid all of his own expenses. After the glorious 2-1 loss to France the
Indian team was invited to the Buckingham palace by Princess Margaret in celebration
of their fearless performances. The princess asked Manna the reason why they play barefoot.
He wouldn’t mention the true, financial reason, and instead he said that their ball
control was much better barefoot. One of his biggest achievements on the international
stage was leading the Indian team to Gold in the 1951 Asian Games held in New Delhi. Manna-da as he was fondly called by his team
mates and fans alike was a specialist at free kicks and set –pieces, apparently King George
VI applauded his set piece speciality and asked him if his legs were made of steel. In a 20 year football career he was never
booked or sent off, and never raised his voice at a team mates or opponent. This gives some
indication of why he is considered a saint of Indian football. In 1953 the England Football Association rated
Manna as the 10th best captain in the world, a rare distinction and something considered
an incredible honour. He was awarded Padma Shri (one of the highest Indian civilian honours)
for his services to Indian Football. For a man who always did the right thing,
Manna faced an unfortunate set back in form of the 1950 FIFA world cup. FIFA categorically
ruled out the ability to play barefoot at the tournament. With only one spot left for
Asian countries, Philippines, Burma and Indonesia withdrew due to the cost expenses that can
be incurred, which left India with automatic qualification to the world cup. However, they didn’t attend the tournament. There were reports suggesting that the Indian
football Governing body (AIFF) couldn’t afford the expenses to travel from India to
all the way to the tournament, which was held in Brazil but this was not the case as organizer’s
were prepared to pay India half of their expenses.One of the most popular reasons cited for India’s
non-attendance was the issue of playing barefoot, but Manna himself has said that this has bee
used as a scape goat. The real reason was that the AIFF did not take the World Cup Seriously
as like they did with Olympics (those days Olympics were considered to be the pinnacle
of sports). Ultimately, they thought the world cup wasn’t as big a deal as the Olympics. This decision has affected Indian football
ever since and is regretted by most of the Indian footballers and fans alike. In the
67 years since, India has never once qualified for the WC. What could have been one of Sailen Manna’s
greatest moments, representing the Indian team at the biggest footballing stage, turned
out to be a sad tale of misconceptions and conspiracy theories. Manna died at the age of 87, his death has
mourned by then FIFA president Sepp Blatter and footballers around the world. He is a
footballer who didn’t earned much money playing but he left the beautiful game having
earned a lot great memories, which can be passed down through generations. His soul
lives in Indian football forever.

100 Replies to “Sailen Manna & India’s Barefoot Football Team | Brief History Of”

  1. This is just to tell you that football is revered highly in India too. Thank you Tifo for this video.

  2. Sailen manna (mohunbagan) & chuni goswami(East Bengal) the legends of indian football…. proud to be born on the land of football kolkata

  3. Have loved your channel since the beginning, being one of your very earliest subscribers. This video has only increased that love and respect. ❤️

  4. Thank you thank you Tifo, for covering this.
    We, Indians, do have passion for football and it is sad that we see our nation not qualifying for world cup since. We had a great team once, but then cricket took over.
    I still believe in the direction indian football is going. And, sooner or later, we will be in FIFA World cup!
    Thank you again, this was touching… ☺


  6. Thanks a lot Tifo…You gave misty eyes to me and my fellow Indians. Recently, thanks to Indian Super League, football is being revived in India and soon we'll qualify for the biggest stage! #Thanks #Fingerscrossed

  7. Ah the Tragedy and the Romance that is my country and football. I come from a small town as football obsessed as any place on Earth – you might think you have wandered into the Barrios of Buenos Aires or the Favelas of Rio judging by the banner sized Argentina and Brazil flags you will see at World Cup time along with the mini flags of allegiance on every car, bike, truck, taxi in Darjeeling. It truly is the biggest secular festival for us.

    Growing up in a cricket-crazed nation has been tough and as much as I love the Gentleman's game I resent the at times undue attention it has garnered that has undoubtedly hampered the development and profile of other sporting disciplines in India. But the love for The Beautiful Game is Global and will live on always – Thank you Tifo Football for allowing the world and indeed India itself to glimpse a bit of heritage that should be more celebrated and should have been the beginning of wonderful things. One day, I hope Sailen Manna's dream, as well as that of over a billion Indians, will come true – till then the wait goes on. We celebrate the game and those who play it in the hopes that the agonies and ecstasies which we have adopted in order to experience vicariously may truly some day become our very own.

    Class video; writing this comment with misty-eyes, a brim-filled heart and a head held high 🙂

  8. So proud to see this in your channel..
    Sailen Manna is the golden boy of Indian Football and will always be remembered..

    Love from India, Kolkata to be precise!!

  9. You guys keep surprising us.. Never expected Tifo to make a video about Indian football.. Great video.. Thanks

  10. we have a along way since 1947 and believe me we are gonna host and play in the world cup in the near future

  11. Great video about lesser known countries in terms of football, I think you guys should cover my country’s football history(Malaysia) too cuz we used to be the most feared Asian team until the golden era retired and mismanagement really sent us back to the ground. Our nation is now ranked 171 by FIFA, back in the days we dominated Asian football but now we can’t even manage a win against minnows like mongolia or Timor leste.

  12. I know him as "shailen manna" during my school days. That was how we mallus pronounce the name.
    Courtesy to our regional sport magazines and their enthusiastic coverage of football- a tad fraction more than cricket ,to be fair!

    I happend to read a lot about that generation and the one's followed. There were packs of talents predominantly in Bengal n Kerala during that early golden era.Peter Thangaraj, Olympian Rahman,PK Banerjee,Syed Nayimuddin were few prominent names I recollect from my early education on 'football history' back then ?

  13. Brilliant!!! Just Brilliant. Having followed this channel and bought the book "Gunshots & Goalposts" only because of this channel, great to see a video on Indian Football. Great going everyone. You guys are the best.

  14. This is why I love this channel. Your way of showing historic moments in football is truly amazing, Tifo. Greetings from the USA.

  15. Nice work Tifo. Firstly thanks for covering this story. India also currently in the rise in football as well. In last 4 years, Indian Football has climbed from 170 to currently 97 at FIFA rankings. Credit goes to Indian Super League, which started in India in 2013. Would love to see a coverage on the league sometime soon if you have got time. ❤

  16. this brings me in tears . the current situation of Indian Football is too downtrodden and the AIFF still remains to be corrupt . Thank you Tifo for bringing up this story, Our story . Every Indian should know about the tragedy that has occured to this nation's footballing side . The thought of where we'd be now had we participated in the 1950 WC still haunts me and every other supporter of the beautiful game in India . The story of a man, who didn't earn a single penny and whose unfathomable love for the game had no boundaries . A true Captain . Once again, Thanks Tifo and keep going . You guys are the best .

    Love, from everyone in India . ???

  17. Thank you so much Tifo Football! Never knew about my country's football story. You are truly a world football channel! I keep saying this that you have the best storytelling style channel on football and it never tires me. More power to you!

  18. Thanks Tifo for the recognition. You guys always upload amazing footballing videos and are always on point. Love from India ❤️

  19. Not only football but other sports as well. There aren't many playgrounds in India especially in major cities with land given away to build Malls, residential complexes, business offices, etc. Cricket is an exception because of the success India is having. But in general, other sports are neglected.

    Also, till we Indians realize that sports is not merely a hobby and can be a career as well, we would just be a nation mass producing engineers and doctors (PS I'm an engineer).

  20. The day will come when India will lift the Fifa World Cup and I will live to see it…….We will have our messis, ronaldos neymars……from a true Indian football fan…..

  21. Playing qoute” India has 1.2 billion population and they can’t even bring 11 on the pitch “ tf has to have some respect

  22. I really appreciate your work….and your knowledge about the game is beyond infinity. Thanks for making this video , it really means a lot to us.

  23. Thank you so much Tifo for covering this. The more we will talk about Indian football in the mainstream, the more chances of us advancing on a higher stage. Just a request – Please make a video on our national team captain Sunil Chhetri and his enviable goalscoring record (61 goals in 100 appearances) for the Indian team, which makes him the third highest goalscorer for national teams, amongst those playing currently behind Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Once again, thank you so much! It means a lot to us.

  24. Thanks!!
    Really ashamed, as an Indian I should've known about this great individual. It is widely believed the reason for not going to the 1950 WC was lack of proper footwear, thanks for sharing.

  25. As an Indian, I humbly thank you for showing the world that India is not just a cricket crazy nation, but is something much bigger

  26. Didn't think you'd know this much about the topic. Solid research. Always recommend this channel to fellow football fans foe your tactics explanations, trivias, history. Kudos guys

  27. Even still we haven't been able to resolve the AIFF. They still have praful patel as the president, who doesn't know bollocks abt football.

  28. Thank you guys u really did a brilliant job. U put in a lot of effort that was evident in this video. Once again Thank you.

  29. For all INDIAN Football Haters –

    Just wait N watch my dear mates… We already beat Football Giant Argentina 2-1 U-20 world cup… We are use to listen words like this INDIA u can't do this you can't do that you guys are losers you guys are poor bla bla bla…. Yet we achive everything the world can't even Imagine… Now cheers… m/

  30. Sir please make a video about MOHUN BAGAN EAST BENGAL derby match . The biggest , oldest, and crowded derby in Asia.

  31. withdrawal from the world cup was the worst decision of Indian football history by the officials who still make shitty decisions

  32. Indian bureaucrats will cut their dick off for the cricket world cup, but any other sport is considered a hobby here, its sickening that many a child ill be driven away from their sport of choice by their parents because there is "no future" in sports. The mentality of Indians is that life is meant to make money, buy property, cars and show it off, hence we lag behind the world in sports other than Cricket which is basically a religion here.

    Its not all doom and gloom though, indian football is rising again, i hope to watch india at the world cup in my lifetime <3

  33. I feel India is a sleeping football giant.
    India has no proper infrastructure for football otherwise they would have been qualified in the world cup 20 years before

  34. Well, you got one critical fact wrong out there. Manna did not captain India in the 1948 Olympics. The captain was Dr. T Ao

  35. @Tifo football can you guys do a video on how Nigeria won the 1996 Olympic football cup held at Atlanta against a team that comprised of Ronaldo Rivaldo and Alot of talented players at Brazil

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