Why this would be the right time to bring back ‘Rovers Cup’

Amidst growing demand of more games for Indian footballers, WIFA aims to revive the once crown jewel of Mumbai Football – Rovers Cup

Amidst growing demand of more games for Indian footballers, WIFA aims to revive the once crown jewel of Mumbai Football – Rovers Cup

After Indian national team Coach Igor Stimac and Captain Sunil Chhetri showed their concerns for lack of game time for Indian Footballers, AIFF President Praful Patel stated that the issue of reviving traditional tournaments is being looked upon.

With Durand Cup back on track, Western Indian Football Association (WIFA) is now working on bringing back the legendary ‘Rovers Cup’ this year itself. The board is in advanced talks with various ISL as well as I League clubs and aims to restart the cup competition around late September before the regular ISL or I-league season commences. While WIFA’s previous attempt at reviving the tournament has failed, this time around the possibility of the tournament getting actual go ahead is high with growing demand of more games for Indian footballers from notable football personalities of the country.

Rovers Cup, the 2nd oldest tournament in the country, was started by some British football enthusiasts’ way back in the year 1891. Bangalore Muslims was the first Indian team to win the tournament in 1937, while Mohun Bagan has won the most titles over the tournament’s 100 years history. The Marines have won a total of 14 ‘Rovers Cup’ titles followed closely by arch rivals East Bengal with 10 ‘Rovers Cup’ titles. The last time the tournament was held was 19 years ago in 2000-01 season, when Mohun Bagan defeated Churchill Brothers SC 2-0 in the final to lift the title.

Although the tournament has been in oblivion over the last two decades, back in the day ‘Rovers Cup’ had been the premier football competition in India with big clubs across the country sending their best teams for the coveted title.

Despite numerous efforts, football in Mumbai has failed to capture the general public. Like cricket, football too has been a regular game for Mumbai kids, despite that unlike Cricket; football has failed to develop into a culture.

Rovers Cup hosted some of the biggest football names of the country and since 2001 (when it was stopped) local football fans have missed some top-level Indian football. Over the last two decades various clubs have come up and shut shop. Notable I league clubs to close down in Mumbai have been Mahindra United and Mumbai FC while Institutional sides like Air India and ONGC ply their trade in local division only. With just one city based club – Mumbai City FC in the top 3 tier of Indian Football, Mumbai football fans have missed the connection, that these local I league clubs and tournament brought to the city.

WIFA’s initiative of bringing the cup back to its glory days will not only boost the football interest in the city but also elevate the paradigm of Mumbai football. The Cup has a history attached to it and will probably have few local clubs participating in it. With top level football involving clubs from all over the country, fans can throng to the stadium to see their local heroes take on the best of the country.


During the Cup’s glory days, thousands thronged the Cooperage stadium to witness the football matches.

The ongoing Durand Cup has clearly shown that I League clubs, having fielded their best players, are going after the title unlike ISL sides that have sent their reserve sides to test out the bench strength. However, WIFA’s plan of scheduling the tournament just before the regular Indian Super League season could mean ISL sides fielding their best XI to try out the permutations and combinations with regular season players.

The tournament can act as the perfect pre-season for the participating clubs while acting as the perfect curtain-raiser for the two leagues. Either way, Rovers Cup return would be happy news for all Mumbai and Indian football aficionados.


Football Counter would love to hear your thoughts or feedback on your experience: Feedback on Football Counter experience
For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: Central bank of India to conduct trials for upcoming MDFA Elite Division season
Also Read: The complications in the valley fail to distract Danish Farooque, the star performer of Real Kashmir FC
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football

Maurya Foundation to conduct trial for TDFA Senior Division League

Maurya Foundation has announced that they will be conducting trials for the upcoming Thane District football Association Senior Division league on 23rd & 24th November 2019. The trials will go underway…

Share

Sportsfort Academy to host trials for age group 6-16

Mumbai based Sportsfort Academy to conduct trials for age groups category (U-6 to U-16) on 2nd and 3rd November.  Sportsfort Academy is a high excellence and premium academy aimed at…

Share

MDFA Elite side Kenkre Football Club to host trials for 2019-20 Season

Kenkre Football Club will host their trials for the 2019-20 season on 22nd and 24th of October 2019. Over the years, Kenkre Football Club has become one of the top…

Share

Wadoo Football School to organize football trials for girls for MDFA & WIFA Women’s League

Wadoo Football School of Excellence will organize their football trials for girls. The academy is owned by former Indian footballer, Mr Mehrajuddin Wadoo. The trial is scheduled for creating a…

Share

Bank of India to conduct trials for upcoming season

MDFA Elite Division side Bank of India will be conducting trials for its upcoming 2019-20 season in Mumbai league football After suffering a disappointing campaign last season where the club finished…

Share

Baroda Football Academy to conduct trials for womens team

Baroda Football Academy to conduct trials for their women’s team to participate in upcoming U17 Women’s league and Hero IWL Formed in the year 2008 BFA – Baroda Football Academy…

Share

Samuel Football Academy to host trials for Women’s Football Team, IWL and MDFA

Samuel Football Academy(SFA) will be conducting their selection trials for their Women’s Football team, the Indian Womens League(IWL), and MDFA League. Mr. Daryl Samuel has been heading the team operations…

Share

Spanish side Cadiz FC to host their 2nd edition trials in India

Once in a lifetime opportunity for budding footballers in the town. A professional Spanish football outfit – Cadiz FC is set to conduct their second edition trials in India. Selected…

Share

Newly promoted Spartans Football Academy to hold trials

Navi Mumbai based Spartans Football academy will conducting open trials for its upcoming 2019-20 Super as well as Elite Division campaigns The club recently gained promotion from MDFA 1st division…

Share

MDFA Super Division: Indian Culture League (ICL) to conduct trials

India Cultureal League (ICL) will be holding trials for their senior team which would take part in the Super Division of M.D.F.A League The team will be playing under the…

Share