The state of Jharkhand never had a top-tier football club until 2017 when Jamshedpur FC was founded by the Tata Group and took part in the fourth season of the Indian Super League (ISL). But that does not mean that they do not have a footballing heritage. The biggest boon to Indian football was the formation of the TATA Football Academy (TFA) in the year 1987.
Majority of the big Indian names in the last three decades have come up from the ranks of TFA. The likes of Renedy Singh, Mahesh Gawli, Sandip Nandy, Deepak Mondal are all products of TFA. Arjuna Award winner Deepak Mondal hails from Jharkhand.
Now with the advent of TATA Groups’ own football club, the state us now witnessing a rise in popularity in football. In this article, we take a look at the framework of the leagues in the state of Jharkhand.
At the moment there are eight clubs who are playing in the state league of Jharkhand. The Jharkhand Football Association (JFA) are planning to expand the structure starting from this year. They already have several district-level leagues for various age categories.
Speaking to Goal, JFA general secretary Ghulam Rabbani said, “At the moments several district leagues are going on in different age groups. We conduct several district leagues throughout the state.”
Jharkhand currently do not have any youth league in the state but Rabbani confirmed that the association are planning to start a baby league for age groups 9-10 and 10-12.
He said, “At the youth level, we are going to start a baby league between the age group of 9-10 and 10-12.”
Women's football structure
Along with District Leagues and Baby Leagues, the football association of Jharkhand will also start a Women’s League. The framework is ready as confirmed by the JFA secretary and the league is scheduled to start by July end.
“From this year onwards we are starting a women’s league. It will start in July after the World Cup ends. The women’s league will have five to eight clubs from eight districts,” said Ghulam Rabbani.
There are currently three football academies that are running in Jharkhand, the most prominent being the TFA. The other two are the SAIL Football Academy and Fahim Football Academy.
Rabbani also claimed that another football club is soon coming from Jharkhand who will be participating in the top division. He suggested that the Munjal Group may form a new club.
He said, “Jamshedpur FC are playing at the top level now and they are doing well. There is a possibility that another football club may come up from Jharkhand. Maybe a team owned by Munjal Steels.”