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Bengal Tigers

Posted on Friday, June 13, 2014 by ARFAI,


The Bengal Tigers is the team representing the state of West Bengal in the ARFAI national championships. The team comprises some of the most experienced players in the country with a few of them having been part of the Indian Tigers outfit in both IC08 and IC11. The sport was originally kick-started in West Bengal and 2008 saw the first Indian contingent for IC08 boasting of players solely from West Bengal.

When Footy kicked off in Kolkata back in 2008, players from various sporting background thronged to learn a new sport, with some players travelling for 3-4 hours every day to attend training at Kolkata. Some of the players travel from villages near the Bangladesh border in Bongaon to attend joint training sessions in Kolkata today.

The bulk of the players playing in Bengal come from Bongaon while there are good numbers also from Khardah, Hooghly, Kolkata and Howrah. The Bengal Tigers participated in the National Championships in 2013 for the first time and went home with the trophy after some majestic performances throughout the tournament. The players from Bengal hold regular practice sessions under the able guidance of experienced campaigners like Rakesh Ghosh from Bongaon and Arif Ali from Khardah along with Sudip and Sudhasil from Kolkata.


Bengal, arguably the most sports fanatic state of India is blessed with extremely committed Footy players, who kept the flame burning post Indian Tigers’ appearance in AFL International Cup 2008. The organizers back then had lost interest in the sport upon returning from Australia, when Sudip wrote to the AFL expressing willingness to continue the development process along with Darren Ross, a fellow team-mate. It was then the Bengal lads Rakesh Ghosh, Arif Ali, Jasim Akhtar, Ayush Gupta and Mervyn Nathaniel who joined hands with Sudip and Darren and other guys like Sudhasil and few other who couldn’t make it to Australia, to build the foundation of the sport in West Bengal between 2009-2011.

Unfortunately the monetary support has been nil for the sport in Bengal, with individual efforts leading the way forward. However few local businessmen, politicians and parents, along with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan school in Salt Lake provided the basic support. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Australia chapter was a ready sponsor for the Indian Tigers when they travel to Australia, given Tigers Sudip and Ayush are former students of their school in Kolkata.

The number of players jumping on the Footy bandwagon in Bengal is a terrific positive to take forward as most of the players come from vulnerable backgrounds and don’t have at their expense ample resources. The players have shown true potential and grit without financial support and there is no doubt that the team from Bengal will continue to be a force in the coming years – basic sponsorship could do wonders!!