IFA felicitates Santosh champion Bengal team

Kolkata: With stalwarts of the present and past in attendance, Indian Football Association (West Bengal) today felicitated Santosh Trophy champion Bengal team in a musical evening.

Cash awards poured in for Snehashish
Chakraborty-captained Bengal side as they received Rs 25 lakh
cash awards from different quarters.

A star performance from Keralaite Denson Devadas
helped Bengal bag their 30th Santosh Trophy with a 2-1 win
over Punjab on August 8, a title that came after 11 years.

Bengal Sports minister Kanti Ganguly was not present
but the state government announced a cash award of Rs 10 lakh
for Bengal side instead of the earlier declared Rs 5 lakh.

The IFA gave Rs 5 lakh, I-League side Chirag United
awarded Rs 5 lakh, while Bengal team`s sponsors Tower Group
added another Rs 5 lakh to take the total prize money to Rs 25

Star in Bengal`s win with his two matchwinning goals,
Bengal midfielder Denson described this as the most memorable
moment in his life.

"It feels really great, the response is so
overwhelming, it seems I am in heaven. For the last three-four
days, I am yet to sleep, such has been the excitement.”

"The title has erased last year`s bitter memories.
Bengal has always been my first choice because of the the
facilities, infrastructure," Denson, who hails from Kerala`s
Kunnur, said.

Olympians Sailen Manna, P K Banerjee and Chuni Goswami
among a host of other sporting personalities were present
among the august gathering.

"Bengal are now the best in India. I am so proud of
them. The credit goes to the coach (Shabbir Ali). It`s really
a glorious moment," said Olympian P K Banerjee, who had won
the same title being the captain of Bengal as well as

"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 had felt bad but I had made my employers
(Railways) proud."

IFA secretary Utpal Ganguli described this as a
beginning of a new chapter in Bengal`s football.

"After I took charge in IFA in 2007, winning Santosh
Trophy was a dream. And, the dream was shattered after Goa
beat us in the tie-breaker last year in Chennai. There I had
met Shabbir Ali, who was a commentator. We both took a pledge
which got fulfilled on August 8. This will inspire new
players," Ganguli said.


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