Club Day: Dempo SC - The History

In the second of the Club Day series, focuses Dempo this time with a summarized history of the Indian club...
The Beginning…

Dempo SC was earlier known as Bicholim SC and was founded way back in 1960.  Bicholim was a first division club in Goa. People from Bicholim village had a lot of interest in football and the club did well against the then leading teams like Salgaocar and Vasco.

The club was taken over by Michael D’Souza and Vasantrao Dempo to be rechristened as Dempo Souza SC in 1966. The club was then renamed to Dempo SC after the latter brought the former’s stakes as well.

Joseph Rathnam…

Just a few years after Vasantrao Dempo owned the club, Dempo won their first title by winning the Goa League in the 1971-72 season getting the better of clubs like Vasco, Salgaocar and Sesa. Dempo was always known for its local Goan talent as they had the likes of Eustaquio Pereira, Felix Baretto and Felix Cardozo to name a few. It was the diligence of Rathnam that the club began doing well. Dempo won its first Rovers Cup and thus the coveted trophy made its way into Goan heartland.

Dempo beat Tata Sports Club by a penalty kick in the dying minutes taken by K.Williams. The Goan club were the joint winners of the Stafford Cup in Bangalore after the final against Orkay Mills ended in a goalless draw. Mr.Dempo’s club lost thrice in arrow in the finals of the Nizam Gold Cup from 1972 to 1975.

Another trophy which eluded Dempo for three years was the Bandodkar Gold Trophy in Panjim where they finished runners-up as always in 1971, ’73 and ’75 finals. They finally managed to win the Bandodkar Trophy in 1976 by thrashing Leaders club 3-0 in the finals thanks to hat-trick by Francis D’Souza.

Bob Boothland

The Newcastle-born coach became the first foreigner to coach a club side in India. Dempo won the Rovers Cup by beating JCT in 1979 with Dionisio Trinidade scoring both the goals in the finals. The club went on to win the Stafford Cup once again beating ITI in the finals. Dempo ended their disappointment in the Nizam Gold Cup by winning the 1978 edition by beating Customs and Exercise by a solitary goal scored by skipper Nicholas Pereira.

Dempo shared the Bandodkar Gold Trophy with Orkay Mills in 1979 and won it by beating Salgaocar 3-0 in the finals of 1982. Dempo retained the trophy for three consecutive years.

Boothland left the club after a few years but came back to win several other honours most notable being winning the 1986 Rovers Cup where they beat East Bengal and Mohun Bagan on their way to lift the trophy. Mauricio Afonso, Baptist Fernandes and Jose Fernandes ensured Dempo’s victory over East Bengal in the semi-finals. The final against Mohun Bagan was a one sided one as the Goan club struck twice before the break. Dempo won the tournament for the last time in 1990.

The 1990’s

Dempo became the first Goan side to have won an international tournament by beating New Radiant SC, Maldives 5-4 in the tie-breaker to win the finals of President of Maldives Invitation Tournament in 1991. The club continued its success by winning the Scissors Cup a number of times. However, that was the lone success to boast of.

Big guns like Mauricio Afonso and Camilo Gonsalves hanging their boots, Dempo found them hard to replace and thus trophies were hard to come by.

The National Football League (NFL) kicked off  in 1996-97 and Dempo finished fourth in the opening season. Gradually they began to slump and were relegated in the 1999-00 season finishing at the bottom of the table.


One of the reasons for the club to be relegated was that Mr.Srinivas Dempo had decided to disband the club following the poor performance in the third NFL where the team failed to make it into the Super Six. On being coaxed by the fans as not to disband, Mr.Dempo reduced the budget of the team in the following season which resulted in the club having inexperienced players and hence, relegation.

“…You cannot be mediocre. Either you are among the top or not there at all,” once said Mr.Srinivas Dempo.

Enter Armando Colaco…

At this point entered the former Dempo midfielder who took the challenge to transform Dempo into the once feared side in Indian football. In his first year, the club failed to make it into the top division but eventually did the following year by winning the second division league.

Dempo finished fourth in the NFL and followed it up with a second place finish just four points behind East Bengal. That was the sign of the rise of Dempo and they won their first NFL in 2004-05. They won back to back league titles for the last two years.

Under Colaco, Dempo are one of the most feared sides in Indian football and have won almost everything club football in India has to offer.

And the success story continues…