Why was Team India once nicknamed Bhangra Boys?

In the last few days numerous people have asked me why I still use the nickname of Bhangra Boys for the Indian national football team when officially the name has been changed to Blue Tigers. I have called them so for over a decade and I have numerous fond memories about Team India as the Bhangra Boys.

I simply ask who decided to change the nickname? Then just changing a nickname without knowing the background and what something stands for isn't something which one should do, I'd rather have numerous nicknames for a national team like e.g. the Argentinians have who are called La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue) and Gaúchos which is a term commonly used to describe residents of the South American pampas, Gran Chaco, or Patagonian grasslands, found principally in parts of Southern Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Southern Chile.

But do you know how the nickname of Bhangra Boys actually came into being?

I guess a lot of people do not know the story on how the nickname of Bhangra Boys came into being. It wasn't a PR agency who created the nickname, but the name came about during a match played between then English first division side West Bromwich Albion and India at the Hawthorns in Birmingham on July 26, 2000 during India's historic tour of England.

The match ended 0-0 but India challenged West Brom, who then were a top team in the second tier of English football. Baichung made a flying header which should have gone in, a great game by a then rising Team India. About 13,000 spectators attended the match and 90% of the crowd was Indian or of Indian origin. The atmosphere was the best I have ever seen at an India game with drums and dhools around, people supporting India which altogether created a positive vibe.

That night the term the Bhangra Boys was born! And over those three tours it became India's nickname with which the fans could identify. Especially in 2002 when India took on Jamaica in a tour which was named the Reggae Boyz vs the Bhangra Boys in the JamIn Tour.

Also in those days India used to play in a white jersey with the tricolour around the neck and arm, which simply looked great! And I feel we should return to that jersey's colour scheme as our home jersey. But then the term Blue Tigers simply wouldn't work.

I have great memories about those matches in England in 2000, 2001 and 2002; which in my mind have fixed the nickname of Bhangra Boys. I sadly do not have a connect to Blue Tigers and i'd like to continue to use the term and I hope it is fine with everyone out there...

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