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Bengal Tournament 2014 – Footy Bedazzled Bengal

Posted on Friday, July 4, 2014 by ARFAI,


Bengal, the very birthplace of Footy in India, hosted the inaugural tournament ‘ARFAI Bengal State Championship’ in Salt Lake on 15th June. Bengal which has always been at the centre of any sports related development in India once again proved to be the worthy place where a sport can be introduced and developed over time.

Six teams with players  from Bongaon, Kharda, Hooghly, Howrah and Kolkata played it out to become the winner of the inaugural Bengal State Championship. The teams were divided into 2 groups of 3 each and played out a round robin format to decide  2 teams which would go on to contest the final. The first group featured the Tigers, Giants and Bombers while the second group matched up the Eagles, Saints and Wolverines against each other. The Eagles team was lucky to play in official West Coast Eagles merchandize provided by the club themselves and facilitated by ARFAI ambassador Helen Mell from Perth. The tournament also saw the first appearance of a non-Australian brother club in the form of Wolverines who take their name from Wolverhampton Wolverines club in AFL England.


It was not just the six teams which embellished  the tournament but also two girls’ teams from Bongaon who played an exhibition footy match, the first of its kind in Bengal. It was the Saints and the Bombers who went on to play the finals which was delayed for sometime because of the incessant  rainfall. The rainfall even couldn’t dampen the spirits of the two finalist teams of the state championship. The final surely called for even more vehement performance from the players and the players provided higher levels of performance in the finals in that rain soaked ground. Bombers ultimately went on to defeat the Saints.

The Guests were regaled to witness such strenuous and zealous performance from the players. The list includedTom Calder, Australian Trade Commisioner in India and also honorary President Of ARFAI,  Sudip Chakraborty, Secretary General of ARFAI,Prasun Mukherjee, former Commissioner of Kolkata Police, President of Cricket Association of Bengal and Executive Vice Chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kolkata, Maidul Islam, former Indian soccer player and Mohammedan Sporting legend, G.V. Subramanium, Joint Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Stephanie March, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) India correspondent. Stephanie was present in the state for 2 days with her colleague to cover the Footy story in Bengal and the hardships the players overcome to play the game without any support from Australia.


Arif Ali , the captain of the winning team, also was the winner of an individual award for Best Mark.. Maidul Ali from the Bombers went on to win the Best Goal award and Amaresh Mondal from the Saints won the Player of the Tournament award, the most prestigious individual award of the tournament.

Bengal has the bragging right for sports infrastructure in the country having in possession the 2nd largest football stadium in the world and the largest cricket stadium of India. Prasun Mukherjee and Maidul Islam expressed their support for Footy development in the state. No wonder Bengal is said to be one of the most sports crazy state in the country. Now only time will tell how Footy crazy Bengal becomes.