The idea of having a junior football tournament was first conceived in 1958 by (Late) Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee, a keen soccer lover whilst he was the Chief of the Air Staff. According to him, football needed to be encouraged at grass root level in order to realise the growth of the game in the country. His concept first took shape when Subroto Mukerjee Sports Education Society was formed in 1960 after his untimely demise in Tokyo. The first tournament was also played the same year. At the time of the inauguration of the tournament, the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, while offering condolence to this great visionary suggested that the tournament be named after the late Air Marshal. Thus, started Subroto Mukerjee Cup Football Tournament open to school teams only.
Subroto Cup Football Tournament is an All India Inter School Football Tournament, organized by Subroto Mukerjee Sports Education Society. This tournament was the brainchild of (late) Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee. He conceived the idea of launching a football tournament, at junior level, in 1958, the year when he was the Chief of the Air Staff. Being an ardent soccer lover himself, he believed that football needed to be encouraged at grassroot level, in order to promote and realize its growth at national and international level. Unfortunately, he died untimely, in 1960. However, his concept lived on in the form of Subroto Mukerjee Sports Education Society, established in the very same year. At the time of inauguration of its first tournament, which was also held in 1960, the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, offered a tribute to this great visionary and named the tournament after the late Air Marshal. Thus, began the journey of the Subroto Cup Football Tournament, held every year, since then.
Over the years, the scope of the tournament has been widened to include foreign participation as a logical step forward in an endeavour to encourage budding footballers, and offer them international exposure at a tender age. As a result of this, teams from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Israel, Bhutan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Ukraine have participated in this tournament in the recent past.
‘Subroto Boys’ is a concept, which IAF had been contemplating since long. It is based on the similar lines as Army Boys, SAI Sports Academy-Chandigarh, SAIL-Jharkhand etc. Finally, in the year 2008, the long cherished dream came alive. For the first time, some of the boys, out of the Subroto Cup Football Tournament, were selected and provided free education and boarding at the renowned The Air Force School (TAFS). Ever since then, TAFS has been putting in tremendous effort in providing them with quality education along with training activities. Extra classes are organised to bring up these footballers to the desired standard in education. These boys are put through a gruelling training schedule under coaches appointed by AFSCB, apart from a coach hired by the school. SMSES makes persistent efforts to give exposure to these boys by sending them to various places for tournaments and training sessions. These boys also had a two years stint with former Olympian, Sqn Ldr (Retd) SS Hakim, there by establishing a strong foundation of their basic skills. As a prequel to international exposure for training, the boys were sent to the Grasshopper Club, Switzerland for training and friendly matches. In a short span of time, some budding stars have emerged out of this program. One of them is Uttam Rai, who is considered a prodigy in Indian football. He has been a member of the India U-14 and Delhi U-16 teams. This little dynamo was also a member of the Indian team for Arsenal Cup at London. Due to his extraordinary talent, he was selected by the Grasshopper Club, Switzerland to undergo specialized training. The teenager has just visited Florida, USA on a sports scholarship and subsequently attended a coaching camp sponsored by the TATA group. Presently, he is undergoing the coaching camp for the Indian Team. Utmost care is taken while selecting these boys to ensure that the talented ones are not missed out. Due to this rigorous process, several boys in the last few years have made SMSES proud by their performances. Albert Rai, Shobham Bassnet, Nimdorjee Tamang, Rowland Lepcha, Lalruatbuia, Norden Lepcha, Joseph and Tilak Subba are all members of Delhi U-16 team. Nimdorjee Tamang, Daniel L Hmar and Lalruatbuia were also members of the Indian team that played in the Arsenal Cup in London.