I was among those fortunate who were a part of the Dehradun football in its glorious years, from 60s to mid 70. In these years Dehradun emerged as a formidable force in Indian football with many remarkable victories in most national championships.
I started to play club football when I was a tenth standard student. I was picked by the Jubilant Jyothi Football Club in &&&&. My school, St Joseph’s Academy, was simply the best school football team in the Doon valley. We used to thrash our rivals like the Doon School, St Georges and Woodstock with big margins. Though no inter-school competitions were held at that time but we used to play friendly matches. The atmosphere at these matches used to be electrifying.
The 60s belonged to Doon football and it emerged as a major soccer centre with many big victories in national championships like the Durand, DCM and Rover’s Cup. The top level performance of the Gorkha Brigade to a large extent was responsible for raising the standards of local football. The army teams made the competition really tough and the opponents could have survived only by rising their own standards. This high level competition boosted the standards of Doon football.
The success mantra:
The success of local football in the 60s and 70s was mainly because of hard work and discipline. We never argued with our seniors. Leave aside arguing we never used to speak in front of our seniors. As a mark of respect for our seniors we used to carry their kit bags. Unfortunately, this practice is missing these days. There were no coaches in out time and we used to learn the skills of the game from our seniors. I used to ask about my mistakes, made as a goalkeeper during matches, from Ravinder Vorha of the Gorkha Brigade
My appeal to administrators of football in Dehradun is to conduct the league in a fair manner. All the clubs should be treated equally. In short, just treatment for all. I am pointing this out based on my experience of watching and playing football league here as many players are spared after misbehaving. While many footballers are punished hard for small offenses.
The players and officials need to change attitudes. The players should be willing to play at a higher level. They should maintain discipline. Local footballers should also avoid sticking to Doon. As this trend exists here the most. Remember, hard work and discipline can do wonders! The officials should focus more on junior level football. Conducting coaching camps and promoting football at schools.
Ram Bahadur was a top class feeder. He used to play modern football like the Brazilians do. The match temperament of Shyam Thapa was excellent. But, I consider Bir Bahadur the greatest ever footballer Dehradun has ever produced. His cutting, body dodges, feints and ball control were superb. I have not seen a player like him from Dehradun.
I exactly do not remember the year. But I think it was 1964 when RRRR Club (NOTE: please mention the name of the club) defeated holders EME Centre (Secunderabad) in a quarterfinal match of the DCM Trophy in New Delhi. Though the local side lost after that but defeating a team like EME in its prime is something that not many football sides from Doon have achieved.
If we want, we can! This attitude is needed to bring back the old glories of Doon football.
Mohammad Aslam Khan
Associate Vice President,
Indian Olympic Association