Ask anyone who has been following the Final Phase of the 2nd Division I-League here in Bangalore. Be it a commoner, a scribe, an official or even a ball boy – all will agree in unison that the two promoted teams into I-League 2013/14 have been worthy of their crown.
On the sidelines of the Prize Distribution Ceremony which took place before the last engagement between Southern Samity and Langsning FC, All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary Kushal Das said: “I congratulate Rangdajied United FC and Mohammedan Sporting for their qualification to next year’s I-League. Both the clubs have played some excellent football and deserve to be in the Elite League.”
Das also thanked the Karnataka State Football Association for organising the Final Phase with great efficiency. “Bangalore have played a great host to the Final Phase of the 2nd Division League. The facilities have been very good and the teams had no complaints.”
I-League CEO Sunando Dhar echoed the General Secretary’s statement. “I welcome both Rangdajied United FC and Mohammedan Sporting to the I-League. The 2nd Division League has been very competitive from the outset and the best two teams have qualified.”
I-League Chairman A.R. Khaleel added: “Bangalore has witnessed some very good and competitive over almost a month. The two teams that have qualified thoroughly deserve it. I welcome them on board to the I-League.”
The same stayed the sentiment among journos. “Rangdajied Football Club and Mohammedan have been the best two sides in the tournament. There is no doubt about that. If Sporting have been the most consistent side, Rangdajied have fought their way up,” a scribe from England, doing his internship here with a national daily quipped.
His fellow mates in the media centre nodded.
Sporting Coach Sanjoy Sen was effusive in praise for AIFF’s initiative to give out Trophies to the winners and runners-up. “The last time Mohammedan Sporting qualified (in 2007/08) there was no provision for trophies. I really appreciate this initiative from AIFF. This is a real morale booster, Sen admitted.
An emotional Rangdajied General Secretary Karsing Kurbah added: “I am living a dream. All these years we have worked so hard for this day. The players lifting the Trophy give me unparallel joy. We are eager to start our maiden campaign in the I-League. I thank the AIFF for everything.”
The last match of the Final Phase saw Langsning FC hold Southern Samity to a 2-2 draw by Southern Samity. David KC Ngahite gave Southern the lead in the 12th minute. But his goal was cancelled out by Daniel Bidemi in the 38th minute.
Langsning took the lead for the first time through Joel Sunday in the 56th minute. But Francis Onyeama came off the bench to make sure that the honours stayed even at the final whistle. Langsning ended their campaign in the fourth position with 13 points from 10 matches while Southern Samity remained rock-bottom managing 6 points from their full quota of matches.
(AIFF Press Release)