Odisha Sun Times Sports Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sept 16:
Defending champions Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) retained the champions title and trophy in the 25th Kalinga Marine-Bibekananda Memorial Inter-School Football Tournament, edging out Delhi Public School (DPS), Kalinga, 2-1 in the exciting final here at Unit-VI Boys’ High School ground in Odisha’s capital city on Tuesday.
Underdogs DPS gave KISS an early jolt as their ace striker Dhyanendra Bhanjdeo drew first blood with a gem of a goal in the very second minute. He powerful but accurate free kick from near the centre line zoomed into the net, leaving KISS custodian Raison Marandi a mere spectator.
But the KISS side, comprising well-trained tribal boys, asserted their supremacy for the rest of the proceedings. Hindurai Soren scored the equaliser in the 15th minute, booting home off a cross from the right wing and Sana Kumar Marandi struck the match-winner with a booming right-footer in the 40th minute.
KISS would have won the match by a bigger margin had not DPS custodian Suvankar Das come his team’s rescue on a number of occasions. HIs valiant performance fetched him the prize as the man of the final match.
Earlier in the day, Tapovan High School finished third in the month-long tournament, defeating Rama Krushna Sikhya Kendra by a solitary goal. DPS forward Dhyanendra Bhanjadeo, the top scorer of the tournament with 11 goals, including two hat-tricks, bagged the man of the tournament award.
Raison Marandi, Hindurai Soren, Sana Kumar Marandi (all KISS) claimed the prizes as best goalkeeper, best mid-fielder and best forward respectively, while the best defender prize went to Saranjit Mishra (DPS).
A special award was given to Sainik School for winning the tournament for a maximum of six times. Eight promising footballers of Unit-VI Athletic Association— Golak Pradhan, Suryabhanu Panda, Rakesh Behera, Kartik Bhola, Rajesh Nayak, Soumya Ranajn Das, Ashish Pradhan and Bijay Barik— were felicitated on the occasion.
The final match and the closing function of the silver jubilee edition assumed significance with the presence of Shyam Thapa, one of the legends of Indian football. Renowned for his bicycle kick or back volley, the former India forward was honoured by Sports and Youth Affairs secretary Saswat Mishra.
Former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan star Thapa was all praise for the school footballers for showing excellent skills and for Unit-VI Athletic Association for promoting football at the grassroots level.
“Make hard work the mantra of your life, whether playing football or pursuing academics,” Thapa, who helped India win a bronze medal in 1970 Asian Games and scored a goal for Bagan’s 2-2 draw against legendary Pele’s New York Cosmos side in an exhibition match, told the upcoming footballers.
Thapa handed over the winners’ trophy and released the souvenir of the tournament.
Odisha Olympic Association (OOA) secretary Asirbad Behera, RBI Regional Director Pradipta Kumar Jena, Tata Steel’s Chief Residential Executive Manikanta Nayak, Angul-Sukinda Railway MD Dilip Kumar Samantray, sponsors Kalinga Marine MD Maina Mishra, director Babi Mishra, Asimananda Mohanty, Kanika King S N Bhanjdeo, Queen Mrunalini Bhanjadeo, Bhubaneswar Athletic Association joint-secretary Naba Ranjan Patnaik gave away the prizes.
Among others, former Assistant Sports Director Ashok Mohanty, former OSAP Commandant Arabinda Mitra, Unit-VI Athletic Association president Tapan Mohanty, vice-president Prafulla Mishra and secretary Dilip Das were present on the occasion.