Newly-crowned champions of India, Chennai City FC, were awarded the Hero I-League trophy in a ceremony in Chennai, on Wednesday.
Chennai, who had wowed the fans with their exciting brand of football, pipped Kolkata giants Quess East Bengal FC by just one point, in yet another race to the finish that lasted till the final day of the season.
“We have put Tamil Nadu football in the map with this win, and I’m very happy that the state is getting the recognition. Also, I’m delighted that more and more local players have come through and won the Hero I-League medal,” said Chennai City co-owner Rohith Ramesh.
The Hero I-League trophy was handed over to the Coimbatore-based club by All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das and I-League CEO Sunando Dhar.
Mr. Das stressed on the importance of strategic planning that got the club to the title. He said, “Chennai City FC’s triumph this season has been a true testament of their planning, strategising and execution. I, on the behalf of the AIFF, would like to congratulate Rohith Ramesh and the entire Chennai City FC for their achievement, that too only in their third year in the top flight of Indian Football.”
Mr. Dhar marvelled at the fact that a club that was formed a little over three years back, has been able to topple the traditional giants of the game and gone on to win the prestigious title.
“It’s a stupendous achievement by the club, to win the Hero I-League trophy within just three-and-a-half years of its existence. I would like to send my heartiest congratulations to the owners, club management, and the players for this brilliant win,” he said.
Along with the Hero I-League trophy, the individual and the club awards for the season was also announced.
List of awards for Hero I-League 2018-19
Hero I-League Fair Play Award: Shillong Lajong
Highest Scorer of Hero I-League: Willis Plaza (Churchill Brothers) & Pedro Manzi (Chennai City FC)
Hero MotoCorp Best Goalkeeper: Bilal Khan (Real Kashmir FC)
Jamail Singh Best Defender Award: Roberto Eslava (Chennai City FC)
Hero I-League Best Half (Midfielder) Award: Nestor Jesus Gordillo (Chennai City FC)
Hero I-League Best Forward Award: Pedro Manzi (Chennai City FC)
Syed Abdul Rahim Best Coach Award: Akbar Nawas (Chennai City FC)
Hero of the League: Pedro Manzi (Chennai City FC)
Best Home Match Organisers: Quess East Bengal
Hero I-League Emerging Player: Gaurav Bora