Kolkata: Bengal`s Santosh Trophy win after a gap of 11 years should bring about a change in the mindset of the authorities and revive football in the state, feel former Santosh Trophy winning Bengal captains.
Champions for a record 30 times, Bengal beat Punjab last week in the final to win the coveted title -- a feat which the former stalwarts think should spur the authorities into reviving the sport at the grassroots level.
Olympian and Santosh Trophy winning captain for both Bengal and Railways, P K Banerjee said, "It`s really a glorious moment. The credit goes to the entire team and coach Shabbir Ali. This should be a way forward for Bengal football.”
"Santosh Trophy is truly special to me. I had won that being both Bengal and Railways captain. In Railways win, we had beaten Bengal. I felt bad, but I had made my employers (Railways) proud."
Bengal`s most successful coach having guided the side to three titles on the trot (1994-96) Syed Nayeemuddin said, "let`s stop talking big and focus on the basics."
"It`s good that Bengal have started winning again. Bengal was the Mecca of Indian football. Let`s stop talking and start working hard. We need to work harder for a long time. Our coaches must also get support and freedom to go ahead.”
"We must remember that a skyscraper cannot be built in two days. If you are making a 100-storey building, the foundation has to be dug deep. The same way, we need to give importance on the foundation before thinking big. We always start discouraging and criticising the moment you fail," he said.
Bengal`s 1978 Santosh Trophy winning captain Gautam Sarkar said the victory should revive the state`s football.