Inder Singh (footballer)
|Date of birth||23 December 1943|
|Place of birth||Phagwara, Punjab Province, British India|
|1962–1974||Leaders Club, Jalandhar|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Inder Singh (born 23 December 1943) was a former Indian football player and captain, manager and administrator. He played for Leaders Club (Jalandhar), JCT Mills and the Indian national team as a forward. He began his senior professional career with Leaders Club in 1962 and moved to JCT Mills in 1974. Playing for Punjab in the Santosh Trophy, he finished the 1974–75 tournament with 23 goals, a record that still stands. He was included in the Asian All Stars XI team in 1967 and 1968. He retired as a player in 1985.
He had a successful managerial career with Mills from 1985 to 2001, following which he was associated with Mills as an administrator from 2001 to 2011. In 1969, he received the Arjuna Award in recognition of his contribution to Indian football.
Singh was born on 23 December 1943, in Phagwara, in the erstwhile Punjab Province of British India. As a student of Government High School, Phagwara, he played for the school at various tournaments, including the All-India School Games in 1960 and 1961. He finished as the goal scorer and was awarded the 'Best Player' award.
Impressed with his talent, Singh was selected by Leaders Club, Jalandhar, as its guest player. He would play exhibition matches for the club and other tournaments as a guest player, until he was signed by the club when he passed out of school. In his first season with the club in 1962 as a senior player, he played in the DCM Trophy in Delhi. The tournament had established and stronger team like Salgaocar, Mysore XI, Mohammedan and Mafatlal Mills playing. Leaders finished the tournament in third place losing only to Mafatlal Mills in the semifinal. For the third place, they beat Mysore XI 4–1. Singh finished as the top scorer for his club. Leaders managed to reach the finals of the Trophy a further four times; 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1971, but lost in the final each time.
In 1974, Singh left Leaders to join another Punjab-based club, JCT Mills. He had a successful spells with Mills, winning two Durand Cup tournaments, in 1975 and 1983, and reaching the finals five times. Playing last for Mills, he retired from professional football in 1985.
Singh played for his home state of Punjab in the Santosh Trophy. He had a hugely successful 1974–75 Santosh Trophy with Punjab winning the trophy. The team finished the tournament having scored 46 goals, with Singh scoring 23 of them, a record that still stands. The team beat Bengal in the final 6–0, with Singh scoring a hat-trick.
Singh made his debut in the Indian national team in 1963, as the first player from Punjab. He was selected to play in the 1964 AFC Asian Cup in Tel Aviv. In the first game against South Korea, India won 2–0, with Singh scoring for the second goal in the 57th minute. Scoring his second goal against Hong Kong in India's 3–1 victory, he finished as the tournament's joint top scorer with two goals and India finished second. He was awarded the 'Best Right-out' at the tournament. He was part of the team at the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok, and finished the tournament with one goal, and India failed to defend its gold medal from the 1962 Games.
Singh found considerable success at the Malaysian tournament, Merdeka Cup. Making his first appearance in 1964, he finished with two goals, against Cambodia and South Korea. India finished as runner-up in the tournament. In 1967, he was included in the Asian All Stars XI team that played Arsenal in Kuala Lumpur. After missing out for two editions, he came back in 1968 and finished with three goals. He was made the captain for the first time in its 1969 tournament, where India were knocked out after the group stage games, and Singh finished the tournament with a lone goal that came against Singapore. Following an injury he sustained during its 1970 tournament, he sat out of the team for a year. He returned at its 1973 tournament as India's captain and scored a brace over Thailand, with India finishing sixth. Ipressed by his performances at the tournament, he was asked to play for the Malaysian national team, by the then Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. Singh politely refused the offer saying he would play only for Punjab and India. He made his last appearance for India in 1975.
Following his retirement of professional football as a player in 1985 with JCT Mills, he went on to manage it for 16 years, till 2001. In this period, the club won the Federation Cup twice, and also the inaugural season of National Football League (1996–97). Following his spell as a manager of his former club, he was made the Honorary Secretary of the Punjab Football Association, a post that he held from 2001 to 2011.
Awards and honours
- AFC Asian Cup top scorer, 1964
- Arjuna Award, 1969
- Delhi Sports Journalists Association, 1974
- "Pride of Phagwara" Award, 2003
- "Milled into submission". The Indian Express. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Sengupta, Somnath (3 July 2013). "Legends Of Indian Football : Inder Singh". thehardtackle.com. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- "Asian Nations Cup 1964". rsssf.com. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- "Inder Singh profile". jctfootball.com. Retrieved 18 October 2014.