Mohun Bagan remembers 1911 IFA Shield win

July 30th, 2010 - 1:17 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 29 (IANS) An evening of songs and remembrances was the highlight of the centenary celebrations of Mohun Bagan’s historic IFA Shield triumph as the club saluted the footballers of that epic match by conferring on them posthumously its highest honour ‘Mohun Bagan Ratna’.
Families of nine of the “Immortal eleven” were present at the glittering star-studded programme organised at the club tent as Governor M.K. Narayanan paid glowing tributes to Mohun Bagan. “The name Mohun Bagan strikes a chord in each of us Indians. You don’t have to be from Kolkata or West Bengal to understand the greatness of this club.”

Describing himself as an ardent Mohun Bagan fan, Narayanan referred to the club’s derbies against arch-rivals East Bengal. “Having been a fan of Mohun Bagan we always followed Mohun Bagan-East Bengal rivalry. We always supported Mohun Bagan. We felt bad whenever East Bengal won.”

Describing the 121-year-old Mohun Bagan as a heritage club, Narayanan said the IFA Shield final victory on July 29, 1911, had stirred the entire nation then fighting to shake off British rule.

The club celebrates the day every year as “Mohun Bagan Day” to commemorate the win.

While relatives of nine of the players were present, the club authorities could not trace any descendant of Kanu Roy. Sibdas Bhaduri, skipper of the team that defeated British army side East Yorkshire Regiment 2-1 in the title clash on this day in 1911, has been given the honour earlier. Emotion, happiness and pride were visible on the faces of the family members who took the honour from Narayanan and the club’s former star footballers as also ministers.

“I feel so proud. I can’t express my feelings,” said Soumyadeep Chattopadhyay, grandson of reverend Sudhir Chattopadhyay, a key player of the team.

The launch of a music album of the soon-to-be-released Bengali movie “Egaro” (The Eleven) that tells the fascinating story of the epic victory was another highlight of the evening that saw former footballers like Chuni Goswami, Sailen Manna and P. K. Banerjee discussing the significance of the 1911 victory and how it had inspired the country’s freedom movement.

Besides, three exhibition games involving junior and former players, artists and the media were played in the afternoon.

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