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Indian Football Team

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits

Published at :June 2, 2024 at 3:55 PM
Modified at :June 2, 2024 at 3:55 PM
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Atawaris Warsi


The Indian football team are ready to gear up in their brand-new kit.

From the early struggles of the 20th century to the modern-day quest for World Cup qualification, the Indian football team, the Blue Tigers, have undergone a remarkable transformation both on and off the pitch. This retrospective explores the myriad jerseys donned by the team over the years, each bearing witness to India’s footballing journey. 

From the iconic sky blue kits of yesteryears to the bold designs of today, every jersey tells a story of triumph, setbacks, and the enduring spirit of the players. With each new kit, a new chapter unfolds in the annals of Indian football, showcasing the team’s evolution, from traditional blue hues to innovative designs echoing the roar of the tiger. 

Join us as we delve into the rich tapestry of India’s football history:

Pre 21st Century

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits
India vs China in 1935 (Image Source: Getty)

Indian Football Team, the Blue Tigers, have struggled to capture the nation’s imagination like its cricket counterparts. Notable successes in the 20th century are limited to the 1951 and 1962 Asian Games gold medals. Despite talented players like PK Banerjee, Sailen Manna, Shyam Thapa, and Sheoo Mewalal, the team did not make significant international strides.

Footage from this era is rare and often grainy, making player identification difficult. The team, clad in traditional blue, played when sponsorships for national team kits were not yet prevalent.

2000-2002

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits.
India beat UAE in 2001. (Image Source: AIFF)

In the years before their first kit deal with Adidas, the Indian Football Team, the Blue Tigers, played in a sky blue kit and achieved notable victories. They defeated a strong UAE team in a qualifier for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan and lifted the LG Cup in Vietnam under coach Stephen Constantine.

These wins were among the national team’s best results in recent history and occurred before the influx of sponsorship money into Indian football. During this period, India had not invited sponsors for its national team kits.

2002-2005

In 2002, India signed a deal with German sports giant Adidas for the national team’s kit, debuting an all-white strip. Two years later, the team switched to a striped all-blue shirt, featuring a combination of darker blue stripes on a lighter blue background.

Despite these changes, poor performances under coach Stephen Constantine led to his sacking and the introduction of a new kit sponsor in 2006.

2006-2007

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits.
Indian football team in 2006. (Image Source: Wikipedia)

In 2006, the Indian Football Team partnered with Nike for their national team’s kits, a collaboration that continued for more than a decade. Nike’s initial design featured a simplistic light blue shirt with white shorts and accents of white on the shirt.

The following season, Nike darkened the blue shade and introduced a vertical sash on the shirt, maintaining the white shorts. For the away kit, Nike moved away from the traditional white, opting for a reddish shirt with blue shorts and blue accents. This design was used until the 2007-08 season, during which India won the 2007 Nehru Cup.

2008

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits.
India won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup. (Image Souce: AIFF)

With constant managerial upheavals a thing of the past, Bob Houghton’s Indian Football Team donned an all-blue kit for the first time in many years.

The away kit featured a simple design with both the shirt and shorts in orange. Under Houghton’s leadership, India won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup and secured qualification for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.

2009

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits.
India won the Nehru Cup in 2009. (Image Source: AIFF)

The 2009-10 Nike kit was a throwback to the 2006-07 design but featured a slightly darker shade of blue. Wearing this new kit, the Indian football team won the Nehru Cup in 2009, securing the trophy for the second consecutive time.

During this period, current Indian football team stars like Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Pal emerged as key players, showcasing their talents in this kit.

2010-2013

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits.
2011 AFC Asian Cup campaign. (Image Source: Olympics)

In 2010, Nike introduced a new kit for the Indian football team during their first Asian Cup appearance in 27 years in 2011. This kit featured a distinct template, similar to those of prominent national teams like Brazil and the Netherlands.

The design was plain blue with an orange strip at the end of the sleeves. Despite the fresh look, the Indian football team struggled in the Asian Cup, losing all their group-stage matches and being knocked out of the tournament.

2014

In 2013, Nike experimented with horizontal stripes for the first time, introducing an all-blue kit highlighted by dark blue horizontal stripes.

Unfortunately, this period coincided with a series of poor performances by the Indian football team under the management of Wim Koevermans. Sporting this new kit, India lost the final of the 2013 SAFF Championship against Afghanistan.

2015-2017

A look back at Indian Football Team's all-time kits.
Indian football kit in 2017. (Image Source: The Football Kits)

The blue kit with orange detailing saw some of India’s biggest successes on the pitch following Stephen Constantine’s reappointment in 2015. The Indian football team won the SAFF Championship in 2016 while wearing this kit.

However, the same period also saw disappointment as the Indian football team bowed out of contention for the 2018 World Cup, finishing at the bottom of their qualification group, which included heavyweights like Iran and Oman, as well as Guam and Turkmenistan.

2017-2018

Despite failing to qualify for the World Cup, India reached the third round of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers after a convincing aggregate 7–1 victory over Laos in the play-off round. Securing qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup came with a resounding 4–1 victory over Macau on 11 October 2017.

Indian football team’s impressive performance in 2017, remaining undefeated in nine matches, propelled them to their second-highest FIFA ranking ever at 96 in May. The plain blue Nike kit, adorned with an orange vertical stripe on the side and the Nike symbol, became iconic, notably worn during the U17 FIFA World Cup hosted in India.

2018-2019

India in AFC 2019.

The 2018 kit featured a dark blue base with even darker sleeves, resembling black. The away kit was orange, while the third kit, bearing a diagonal strip from right to left in the colors of the Indian flag, was white.

Despite a defeat in the 2018 SAFF Championship final against Maldives, the Indian football team bounced back with impressive friendlies against China, Jordan, and Oman. They kicked off the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with a historic 4–1 win against Thailand, their biggest ever at the tournament in 55 years. However, subsequent losses to UAE and Bahrain led to their elimination, prompting Stephen Constantine’s immediate resignation as head coach.

2019-2020

In 2019, Igor Stimac took over as head coach whereas Six5Six became the official kit partner of the India national football team from 2019 to 2023, introducing a kit reflecting the essence of the Indian football team, featuring orange tiger-like stripes on the sleeves.

The away kit sported similar stripes on a white background. Stimac’s tenure commenced with the 2022 World Cup qualification, starting with a 1–2 loss to Oman at home. India managed a commendable goalless draw against Asian champions Qatar but faltered with disappointing draws against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Despite a late surge with wins against Bangladesh and a draw with Afghanistan, India’s hopes ended after losses to Oman and Qatar, finishing third in the group. They, however, secured qualification for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup third round.

2021

Indian Football team in 2021. (Image Source: SportsAdda)

In their 2021 iteration, the Blue Tigers’ kit showcased extremely light blue tiger-like stripes on a dark blue jersey, positioned prominently on the chest with an orange border.

The away kit remained white, while the goalkeeper’s kit adopted the same pattern in pink. India secured victory in the SAFF Championship, clinching the title with a commanding 3-0 win over Nepal in the finals.

2022-2023

Players celebrate in 2022. (Image Source: AIFF)

The 2022-23, featuring V-shaped marks from collar to hem, brought immense success for the Blue Tigers. Similarly styled, the away kit in orange complemented the home jersey. In September 2022, India debuted in the VFF Cup with mixed results, drawing 1–1 against Singapore and losing 3–0 to Vietnam.

However, 2023 proved stellar for India. They clinched victory in the 2023 Tri-Nation Series and the 2023 Intercontinental Cup, defeating Myanmar 1–0, Kyrgyzstan 2–0, and Lebanon 2–0 respectively. Continuing their winning streak, India secured their third SAFF Championship title, defeating Pakistan 4–0, Nepal 2–0, and drawing 1–1 against Kuwait in the group stage.

They overcame Lebanon in the semi-finals and triumphed over Kuwait in the final, clinching a record ninth SAFF Cup title. Sunil Chhetri emerged as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, including a hat-trick against Pakistan.

2023-2024

Performax stepped in as the official kit partner for India from 2023, unveiling a light blue jersey adorned with one shoulder stripe extending from collar to hem, accompanied by a circular sleeve stripe. The orange away kit featured similar black-striped accents.

However, their preparations for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup lacked friendly matches, making India the only team without such warm-ups. Unfortunately, their tournament performance fell short, as they lost all group-stage matches against Australia (0–2), Uzbekistan (0–3), and Syria (0–1), failing to score any goals throughout the competition.

2024

The all-new kit of Indian Football Team. (Image Source: AIFF)

The current Indian team jersey, adorned with a tiger’s claw essence, symbolizes their strength and determination. As they gear up to face Kuwait, securing three points becomes crucial for India’s progression to the third round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. A victory in this match would be monumental.

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