A tactically brilliant Oriental English School, Manipur, got the better of Government Mizo High School, Mizoram, by a solitary goal to become the first girls’ under-17 champion in the Subroto Cup football tournament at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Thursday.
The Manipur girls began the summit clash as underdogs against the free-scoring Mizo team, whose star striker Offee Lalmingahualpuia had scored 14 goals in five matches before the final in the inaugural edition of the girls’ under-17 tournament.
But she was marked tightly throughout the final, and hardly got a scoring opportunity. The Manipur girls concentrated on fortifying their citadel and M.K. Kashmina showed brilliant presence of mind to nod home the winner in the 36th minute off a flag kick. It was to prove the winner.
With Lalmingahualpuia shackled, Government Mizo School seemed to lack a plan-B, and that cost them the match.
Manipur coach R.K. Amusana gave credit to the entire team for the success.
“We had specific plans for the match.
“We had studied the opponents and had ensured that Offee was marked well. Our players did a good job in executing the plan and that is the reason for our success,” said Amusana, who was later named the best coach of the tournament.
Kashmina, who had represented India at the under-13 level, was ecstatic after the final whistle and said she was overwhelmed by the fact that she had provided the team with the reason to celebrate. There was a goodly crowd to witness the final, prominent among them were Indian women’s team goalkeeper Aditi Chowhan, international Sushmita Mallick and India’s first women’s team captain Shanti Mallick.
The three were felicitated by the Subroto Mukherjee Education Sports Society and Indian Air Force for their achievements at the SAF competition which they won this week.
The winning team took home a prize of Rs.200,000 while the runner-up got Rs.100,000.
The results: Oriental English School 1 (M.K. Kashmina 36) bt Government Mizo High School 0.
Boys: U-17 (league): M.S.P. Higher Secondary School, Malappuram, Kerala 3 ( Sabith 2, Salman) bt St. Stanislaus School, Bhagalpur, Bihar 1 (Patras); Navyug School, Avenue I, Sarojini Nagar, New Delhi 1 (Suraj) bt Bangladesh Cadet College, Chittagong 0.
Other awardees: Best goalkeeper: K. Lalhruaizeli (Government Mizo High School); Best player: Lhingneikim Kips (Oriental English School); Highest scorer: Offee Lalmingahualpuia (Government Mizo High School).
Best coach: R.K. Amusana (Oriental English School); Fair Play: Ramakrishna Sarada Higher Secondary School, Tamil Nadu.