Chief Minister and local government felicitate Kolkata players
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee (R) felicitating Atlético de Kolkata players and officials
On the back of their triumphant campaign in the inaugural edition of the Hero Indian Super League, Atlético de Kolkata players were felicitated by West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee and other officials from the state government and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, at a ceremony held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
Ms. Banerjee gave a special trophy to the Kolkata players who were present, as well as gifts and ‘uttariya’ – traditional Indian cloth which is usually worn as a scarf. Goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, defenders Arnab Mondal, Kingshuk Debnath, and Biswajit Saha, midfielders Sanju Pradhan and Rakesh Masih, and forwards Baljit Sahni and Mohammed Rafique – who scored the dramatic winner in the final against Kerala Blasters FC – were on hand to represent their team.
"The victory will inspire youngsters to play football,” enthused the chief minister. We love Atlético de Kolkata, and we are proud of you. Thank you so much!"
Team co-owners Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, and Utsav Parekh were also felicitated by the chief minister, and the team also cut a cake in the shape of the ISL trophy. Co-owner and Kolkata cricket icon, Sourav Ganguly, was unable to attend as he is currently fulfilling his commentary duties in Australia for the Indian cricket team’s tour there.
Ms. Banerjee also reserved special praise for the initiatives put in place by the league and the team for the grassroots development of football in India. "We convey our best wishes to those who are trying to popularise football at the grassroots level. We have to groom budding sportspersons," she stated.
AIFF president Praful Patel, and star ex-footballers Goutam Sarkar, Shyam Thapa, Prasanta Banerjee, Bidesh Bose, Manash Bhattacharya, and Samaresh (Pintu) Chowdhury attended the felicitation, along with tennis coach Akhtar Ali and local ‘Tollywood’ actors Prosenjit, Dev, and Parambrata Chatterjee, and renowned singer Usha Uthup.