Mahesh Gawli (born 23 January 1980 in Goa) is a retired Indian footballer who last played as a defender for Dempo in the I-League.
Gawli was born in Goa and began playing football at 8. Gawli’s talent was immediately spotted by the coaches at all age groups. He was a member of the Goa U-12 team that beat Japan U-12 in 1991-92. He then joined the famed Tata Football Academy.
Gawli started his career at FC Kochin where he joined in 1998 after graduating from Tata Football Academy and won the Kerala League with them before moving on to Churchill Brothers.
He stayed there at Churchill for three consecutive seasons from 2000-2002 and won the Goa Professional League thrice with them. He also helped them secure the Runners-up medals in the 2001-2002 season of National Football League (India) before moving on to Kolkata biggies East Bengal.
Gawli first tasted the National League success in 2003-04 season after moving in to the East Bengal. He was also a member of the East Bengal team that won the prestigious 2003 ASEAN Club Championship in where he also scored a goal against Philippine Army F.C.. East Bengal completed a treble that season by winning the Kolkata League crown as well.
After a successful 3 years’ stint with the East Bengal, it was time for Mahesh to find his place in Mahindra United team. It was under Mahindra Coach David Booth that Gawli displayed his finest brand of football. He helped Mahindra win the NFL, Indian Federation Cup, Mumbai Football League and the IFA Shield and was part of the team that participated in the 2007 AFC Cup and went on to reach the last eight stage. Gawli won the best defender award in the 10th NFL for his stellar performances in Mahindra United colors.
Then it was like a home coming for Mahesh as he moved from Mahindra to Dempo S.C. in 2007 and has become a pillar of strength in Dempo’s defense. Gawli has won two I-League titles with Dempo and is a regular starter for the club and forms a formidable partnership with another India international Samir Naik. He helped Dempo reach the semi-finals of 2008 AFC Cup and the pre-quarters in 2011 AFC Cup.
He represented India in the AFC U-16 Championship in 1996 held in Thailand and was included in the Asian All Star U-16 team. Gawli soon made his international debut in the pre-Olympic qualifier against Thailand in 1999 and cemented his place in the Indian team.
Mahesh has been representing India since 2001. With India he won LG Cup, several SAFF Cups. He was part of the historical Nehru Cup International Football Tournament 2007 win in which he was the man of the match in the final against Syria. He was also an important part of the victorious India team at the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup.
He announced his retierment on December 26, 2011 almost 2 weeks after winning the 2011 SAFF Championship with India.
|1||10 December 2005||Karachi, Pakistan||Bhutan||2-0||3-0||2005 SAFF Cup|
- Best defender of the I-league 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2011-12
- 2007 ONGC Nehru Cup Final – Man Of the Match
- Dilip Sardesai Sports Excellence Award 2008
- National Football League (1): 2003-04
- ASEAN Club Championship (1): 2003
- National Football League (1): 2005
- Federation Cup (1): 2005
- IFA Shield (1): 2006
- I-League (3): 2007-08 I-League, 2009-10 I-League, 2011-12 I-League
- Super Cup (1): 2008
- AFC Challenge Cup (1): 2008
- SAFF Cup (2): 2005, 2011
- Nehru Cup (2): 2007, 2009