Mamata regrets country’s poor soccer standards (Lead)

July 29th, 2011 - 11:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, July 29 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday regretted the poor standards of Indian football, as she was given honorary life membership of Mohun Bagan at a programme celebrating the centenary of the club’s historic IFA Shield triumph - the first ever by an Indian team.

Club president Swapan Sadhan Basu wrapped a scarf in the club’s green and maroon colours around the chief minister’s shoulders and presented her the membership card at a packed Netaji Indoor stadium.

“I love this game a lot. Mohun Bagan, football and independence struggle are all entwined. These are all part of our tradition. We should strive to improve our football standards as we have been unable to make our mark in the game in recent times,” said Banerjee in her address.

“If we really love this game, we have to build it up. We have to make football academies and prepare the young children for the game.. We have to take this game to new heights so that we gain respect in the world arena also,” said Banerjee.

Former Indian soccer star P K Banerjee was given the club’s highest award “Mohun Bagan Ratna” for his “outstanding service” to the club as coach. All surviving past and present captains of the club’s soccer team were felicitated at the programme.

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