Looking back at when Dempo SC dominated Indian Football

Dempo SC is an Indian professional football club based in Panjim, Goa. Dempo Sports Club is owned and sponsored by Dempo Mining Corporation Limited. The club gained immense popularity in the last four decades of its existence.

Dempo became the first Indian Football club to reach the Semi-final of the AFC Cup tournament in 2008. If we turn the clock back to the 1960s, the Golden Eagles were a name to be revered.

Inauguration History: Dempo SC:

Dempo Sports Club began as Bicholim Football Club, which was a First Division League side in the 1960s. Later in 1967, the club was adopted by Dempo Souza and renamed Dempo Souza Sports Club. The Dempo Souza Sports Club finally became the Dempo Sports Club after Dempo bought Mr. Michael D’Souza’s stake in the Dempo Souza enterprise.

Players including Subhash Sinari, Bernard Olivera, Tolentino Serrao, Bhaskar, Kalidas Gaad, Manohar Pednekar, Bhai Pednekar, Ganpat Gaonkar, and Pandurang Gaonkar were part of the founding golden generation.

The Golden Age of Dempo FC: Initial Phase:

In 1972, the Whites started their achievement journey by winning the Goan Senior League Title. They also managed to win the title again in 1974. They won their first-ever Rovers Cup in 1975.

In 1978, Dempo SC embarked on a revamp with British manager Bootland. He introduced the revolutionary 4-3-3 formation, which helped them clinch the Rovers Cup in 1979. They also defended their league in 1980.

Dempo SC managed to win the Stafford Challenge Cup in 1975 and 1979. They also won the Bandokar Gold Trophy in 1976 and 1978.

The Golden Age of Dempo FC: Ultimate Phase:

The Golden Eagle’s Golden Age started in 1986. In 1986, they won the Rover’s Cup by beating the legendary Mohun Bagan team. This time, they also won the Goan Football League in 1987, 1988, and 1994.

The Whites won the Scissors Cup in 1992, 1994, and 1996. They achieved the Bandokar Gold Trophy in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1990, and 1991. In an International tournament named the Pomis Cup in Male, Dempo SC was the runner-Up in 1991 and 1992.

Dempo SC was relegated in 1999–2000. But the Golden Eagles bounced back the very next season. They clinched their first NFL Championship in 2004.

Before rebranding into the I-League, Dempo SC won the last NFL Season in 2006-2007.

The Goan Champions were performing flawlessly at this time. They won the Durrand Cup title by beating JCT FC 2-0 in the 2006 final. In 2007-08, they even won their maiden I-League season.

After winning the I-League, they got promotion to play in the AFC Cup in 2008. Before Bengaluru FC, the Whites were the only side that had the capability to perform well and fight for the championship. Dempo SC also won the Goan Football League in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

After the 2012–13 season, Dempo SC was in 5th place in the league table. At that time, they parted ways with their successful coach, Armando Colaco. Under Colaco, they won five major tiles and several other trophies.

Their 2015-16 season was ruined by numerous injuries. Their performance relegated them to the bench. Following their relegation, they moved to the second tier of Indian Football.

Notable Players of Dempo Sc:

2006 FIFA World Cup representatives Carlos Hernandez and Densill Theobald were Dempo SC’s notable marquee players. Costa Rican world cupper Carlos Hernandez was the league’s highest provider from 2004–06. But Ronti Martins was the most fan-favorite player and the club’s highest goal scorer.

Brazilian Cristiano Junior, who scored five goals for the club, was another fan favorite footballer. Sunil Chhetri, the captain of the Blue Tigers, made 12 appearances for the Golden Eagles, scoring eight goals. Clifford Miranda and the current Indian National Football Team’s assistant coach, Mahesh Gawli, were also former players of the Goan club.

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