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Mecca of Indian football this year host grand FIFA World Cup U 17 final

Mecca of Indian football this year host grand FIFA World Cup  U 17 final

By Biswamoy Mukherjee

Kolkata, Dec 27 (UNI) The City of Joy, also popularly known as the Mecca

of Indian football, this year hosted for the very first time in the history, the

grand FIFA World Cup U 17 final at the newly refurbished Vivekananda

Yuba Bharati Krirangan which clearly reflected the enthusiasm among


Apart from the final, semi final and third-fourth play-off matches, Kolkata

was also host six Group F matches, a Roundof-16 game and a


The state government has put in a lot of effort to make this event a

grand success. They have renovated the stadium spending nearly a

hundred crores and gave it a world class makeover.

Yuva Bharati Krirangan acronymed as YBK is home to the city giants

Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. There had been some incredible

changes in the stadium which is the world’s second largest stadium

The state government had used a special type of paint to ensure an

eco-friendly atmosphere inside the Salt Lake Stadium.

Bengal emerged as the champions of the 2016/17 Santosh Trophy

after they registered a 1-0 win over hosts Goa in the final at the GMC

Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.

After playing out a goalless ninety minutes, Manvir Singh (119') finally

came good in the dying moments of extra time to douse the spirits of Goa

and their voracious home crowd.

By virtue of winning the 71st edition, Bengal laid their hands on the

trophy for a record 32nd time as Goa lost their eighth final to go with

their five triumphs.

The West Bengal women's team won the senior National table tennis

championships, beating Maharashtra A 3-0 in the final in Manesar,

Haryana and winning the title for the first time in 20 years.

Krittika Sinha Roy set the ball rolling for, edging past Pooja

Sahasrabuddhe 3-2 in the opening match.

Sutirtha Mukherjee then thumped Charvi Kaule 3-0 before veteran

Anindita Chakraborty sealed the issue by blanking Shruti Ambrute 3-0.

Moumita Dutta and Shreya Ghosh were the other members of the

winning squad. The triumph at the Manesar Sports Club was especially

memorable for the evergreen Anindita. Now a coach as well as state

selector, the 39-year-old Anindita has continued to compete at the

national level and faced younger challengers in her quest for more success.

Having been part of Bengal's title-winning squads in 1993 and 1994,

Anindita played a crucial role in the 1997 Nationals as well, in Jammu &

Kashmir, when the state women's team last won the prestigious

Jayalakshmi Cup.

Olympians Mouma Das, Poulami Ghatak, former national champions

Mantu Ghosh and Kasturi Chakraborty were the other members of the

1997 team. Mantu and Kasturi have retired, while Mouma is representing

PSPB in the ongoing Nationals.

The Bengal men's team of Anirban Nandi, Arjun Ghosh, Sanmoy

Paranjape, Sougata Sarkar and Surajit Das won the bronze medal

after going down to Haryana 0-3.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced financial

aid of Rs 5 lakh each to all sports bodies in the state nurturing Olympic


The chief minister also loosened her purse strings for 13 top city clubs,

each of which, she said, will get Rs 50 lakh from the state sports

department for development of sports.

" The clubs and bodies that come under Olympic bracket, who produce

national and international talents, will be given Rs 5 lakh each. The

Trinamool Congress supremo, who has consistently opposed the

central government's demonetisation drive, said it has taken a toll on sports sponsorship. "It is difficult for them (sports bodies) to run. It is because they organise sporting

activities. They just need that push from us. Sponsorship has ebbed. How

will players and organisations run without sponsorship? "

Banerjee also said the budget allocation in the Sports Policy formed by the state in 2015 has been increased. Enlisting her government's achievements in building sports infrastructure,

Banerjee said, "We have built 16 new stadiums, refurbished 46 and built 23 youth hostels." The Chief Minister also said that she will compose a theme song for the sports department, and emphasised that there is need for one since it will foster identity and a sense of pride.

Incidentally, the Chief Minister was earlier criticised by the opposition for handing out liberal doles for thousands of clubs, which, they alleged, was just another means of squandering scarce public money for political reasons.

Nearly 12,000 clubs have so far got these grants that range from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Special awards were dished out during the day to archer Atanu Das, who impressed with his fifth place finish in the qualification round in Rio Olympics, sprinter Debashree Mazumdar, and paddlers Soumyajit Ghosh and Mouma Das.

Dipa Karmakar, who finished fourth in gymnastics at Rio and missed a bronze medal by the skin of her teeth, was feted for her feat with the 'Ananya Samman' (unique award). "I am honoured to receive this award.

Despite not being from the state, the affection and respect I have got from West Bengal is overwhelming," said gymnast Dipa Karmakar, whose coach Bisheswar Nandi was invited to set up an academy by the Chief Minister.

Ms Banerjee even offered to help Karmakar, who is a resident of Tripura,

if she faced any difficulty.

"I have told Dipa that we will help her in case of any difficulty."

Former Davis Cup squad captain Naresh Kumar and soccer olympian Samar (Badru) Banerjee were given lifetime achievement award "Jiban Kriti Samman". Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen was among those who received the "Kriraguru Samman" for best coach.

West Bengal won the men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles events in the 33rd All India Postal Table Tennis Tournament hosted by Andhra Pradesh Circle.

Former Bengal cricketer Saba Karim appointed as General Manager, Cricket Operations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) .

Karim will start off as the GM from January 1, 2018.

The General Manager's post had been left vacant after the resignation of MV Sridhar over issue of conflict of interest.

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) honoured Bengal's former Ranji Trophy winning coach Palash Nandy with the Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual awards ceremony here on Tuesday.

Right-handed batsman Nandy scored 3,208 runs in 57 matches for Bengal, also capturing eight wickets with his part-time right-arm off-breaks.

He played from 1969-70 till 1983-84. Nandy's highest score was 205 not out.

The 65-year-old was also appointed coach of the Bengal team in the year 1989-90 when he guided them to their second Ranji Trophy triumph.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed over the prize to Nandy who also got richer by Rs 2 lakh.

"I still remember the day when I was in shorts, playing the U-19s and I met Palash Nandy at Mohun Bagan club and he was the coach," said CAB President Sourav Ganguly, who made his domestic debut under Nandy's coaching.

"We won the Ranji Trophy in 1990 and Palash da was the coach. So my memories with him go a long way. I am honoured to be able to honour him during my tenure at CAB as President," the former India captain added.

The Bengal U-19 team was also felicitated after winning the Cooch Behar Trophy earlier this year. Bengal defeated Delhi to win the title after 19 years.

Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary was awarded Cricketer of the Year while Abhimanyu Easwaran bagged Gentleman Cricketer of the Year.

Ashok Dinda was adjudged best fast bowler of the year as he was the highest wicket-taker for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy. Abhishek Raman won the best Under-23 cricketer of the year while Sudip Gharami was adjudged best Under-19 player.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her visit to Netherlands in this year urged Dutch coaches to help Bengal produce to produce world class footballers.

While addressing a gathering organised by the Royal Netherlands Football Association in Amsterdam recently, she said there were lakhs of football enthusiasts in West Bengal.

'Boys in every block play football as it is affordable. It is a game of commoners and if these boys can be given proper coaching then the standard of football can be improved,” she said.

She said the state government had given special emphasis to promoting sporting activities. “Footballs, jerseys and other sports gear are given to the players and football tournaments are held throughout the year. It is the most popular sport in West Bengal,” she maintained.

She urged John Van Geigen, head of international programme for World Coaches to collaborate with the state government and impart coaching to the youngsters. “Holland has produced some football legends. If we can collaborate then surely we will be able to produce some of the finest players.”

This is for the first time when a chief minister from West Bengal has made an appeal to Dutch football organisers to coach Bengal’s budding youngsters.

Amid much fanfare and tight security, Argentine football legend Diego Maradona arrived in the city for a three-day visit on December 10.

The iconic player, who is now coach of the Dubai-based club Al-Fujairah SC, said, “It is such an honour for me to be able to make this trip. Kolkata is a very special place and I have good memories from my trip there many years ago, the fans were fantastic,.”

“India is a very passionate football nation, and I look forward to meeting a whole new generation of fans while continuing to spread the overwhelming love that I have for this beautiful game,” he added.

The 1986 World Cup winner was accompanied by partner Rocio Oliva

The trip was originally slated to take place in October but was postponed several times. This is the former Napoli star’s second visit to the eastern metropolis.

Maradona visited Mother House – the global headquarters of the Missionar ies of Charity – during his visit, and prayed before the tomb of the Catholic order’s founder Mother Teresa for some time after lighting a candle.

Maradona unveiled a 12-foot statue of himself in Kolkata and was also played a charity football match with former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly.

The Annual Award ceremony of the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club (CSJC) was held today in the Satyajit Ray Auditorium of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

The programme kicked off with a soulful musical tribute to the late folk singing legend Kalika Prasad Bhattacharya.

An emotionally charged audience was then addressed by senior journalist and President of the CSJC, Dhiman Sarkar, who set the ball rolling by saying that the evening was only “for sportspeople by the sports journalists.”

The Inspiration of the year award was given to Deepa Malik, the Paralympian who made the country proud at the Rio Paralympics last year by winning a silver medal in the shot put event, while on a wheelchair. And although she wasn’t present in person to receive her award, she thanked the media in a video message saying,

“I am very thankful to the CSJC for giving me this award. It is good that the journey of us, Paralympians are covered by the media and it is an honour to be receiving such an award from journalists.”

Indian cricketer Wriddhiman​ Saha was honoured with a special award for his splendid performance in India’s Test season at home. Saha, who is currently playing for the Kings XI Punjab, had wife Debarati to collect the award on his behalf.

And after the efforts of some young sports persons were acknowledged, came the turn of the old warhorses to take centre stage as legends like footballer Shyam Thapa, cricketer Satyabrata (Raju) Mukherjee and chess Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua were honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards by the club.

Former Indian football captain Chuni Goswami, along with the Sports Minister of West Bengal Aroop Biswas gave the awards to these legendary figures for their outstanding contributions to sports.

Thapa said, “Thanks to the journalists who still sometimes write about me, people know me and my game. I would like to say that I would always be involved with football in whichever capacity possible.”

Raju Mukherjee said, “It is an honour to have received an award like this from the journalists.”

Dibyendu Barua, who was the second Grandmaster in India after Viswanathan Anand, pointed out, “I want to dedicate this award to my late father who has constantly supported me.”

And legends made way for a legend-in-the-making. Golfer SSP Chawrasia, who won the Indian Open just last month, was given the Sportsperson of the year award. And, understandably, a deafening applause followed after this announcement as he came on to the stage and credited the journalists who make players popular.

“Without journalists nobody will know sportspersons. I hope this award becomes a lucky charm as I get ready for tournaments in Japan, China and England,” he said.

Cricketer Saurav Singh was adjudged the Junior Sportsperson of the year. Special award winners included Rana Gharami, Manvir Singh, members of the Bengal team that beat Goa to clinch their 32nd Santosh Trophy title along with coach Mridul Banerjee, Pranab Nandy, the coach of the Bengal U-19 team that won the Cooch Behar Trophy and Anindita Chakraborty, who helped Bengal become the national table tennis champion.


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