President Pranab Mukherjee's love for football became evident once again on Friday evening when he took time out of his busy schedule to attend the inauguration of a youth football tournament that he himself had started organizing seven years back.
Mukherjee, whose five year stay at the Rashtrapati Bhawan will be coming to an end in the next fortnight, had started this competition in the memory of his late father Kamada Kinkar Mukhopadhyay in his constituency Jangipur and since then it has regularly featured in the Kolkata based youth teams' calendars.
In front of a chock-a-block crowd, Mohun Bagan U-19 defeated their arch-rivals East Bengal 1-0 with the goal coming from Debanna Chakraborty, an academy product who had participated in the U-16 I-League last year. Both the squads were full with players who had taken part in the U-18 I-League earlier this summer, where the Red and Golds had finished second best behind the AIFF Elite Academy.
The Mariners have already begun their preparations for the Calcutta Football League - a competition they have not won for seven years - under Shankarlal Chakraborty while Khalid Jamil will be kick-starting East Bengal's pre-season practice on Monday at the club ground. The new recruits like Ansumana Kromah, Kamo Bayi, Chesterpaul Lyngdoh, Soram Poirei, Ricky Lallawmawma et al are taking part in Green and Maroons' sessions while Brandon Vanlalremdika and Lalramchullova arrived in the city to don the Red and Gold jersey.