Nehru Cup 2012: The awards for the best players and most talked about moments from the tournament

With the 11 day extravaganza of the Nehru Cup brought to an end, looks at what were the most interesting and despondent moments from the tournament...
The Nehru Cup as a tournament might not harvest bumper viewership but the 11 day rumble between the five teams of India, Syria, Nepal, Maldives and Cameroon was certainly captivating. Like every major tournament, the Nehru Cup of 2012 also witnessed some stupendous action but was also not short of moments which were abominable.

In commemoration of the conclusion of the tournament, brings to you the highlights from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Subrata Paul
Subrata Paul has shown how exactly he is India's No.1 choice

Subrata Paul's performance gave him his rightful place in our Team of the Tournament. He showed his consistency throughout the tournament. The goals that he conceded resulted from defensive impasses where it was definitely difficult for him to come on top. Other than that, he hardly put a foot wrong throughout and was an excellent shield for his team. He would willingly come off his line to collect or punch clear the ball from corners or crosses. The award for the best goalkeeper definitely goes to him.


Nabi has been consistently performing for club and country

The award for the best defender was the real bone of contention and the rationale behind this was the caliber of our two contenders; Cameroonian captain and right back, Paul Bebey Kingue; and Indian left-back Rahim Nabi. After much debate, we decided to bestow Nabi with the award after his performance consistently stood out from the rest. The final always answers the most difficult questions and Nabi's performance in the battle for the top prize made it easier for us to choose him over his Cameroonian counterpart.


It is widely believed that a team’s midfield is generally responsible for calling the shots on the match and very few players, deployed in the middle of the park, dictated play as effectively as Cameroon’s Kingue Mpondo. He was joined by two strikers as the top scorers of the tournament. He initiated link up play with his team-mates majestically and was artistic with his ‘killer’ through balls. He was the engine for his side and was without a doubt the best midfielder of the tournament. India's Lenny Rodrigues comes in second.


Sunil Chhetri was in close contention with Ebanga Bertin

Another award which was torn between two players is the coveted best striker award between India’s Sunil Chhetri and Cameroon’s Ebanga Bertin. Throughout the tournament, either of the players matched eye to eye with their performances. Bertin chipped in four goals, the same number as Chhetri and the decision again had to trickle down to the finals. Sunil Chhetri’s few moments of inspiration in the ultimate game of the tournament was in the end enough for us to decide who the mantle for the best striker should go to; it edged out Ebanga Bertin who was rigid in the most important match of the tournament.


The game between India and Nepal failed to spark any fireworks

The Yawn award is given to the most boring game of the tournament. The only match which failed to produce a goal was the tie between The Blue Tigers and The Gorkhalis. The pitch conditions were miserable and it became difficult for the players to pass around the ball at all let alone with flair. The Nepalese tried to establish their foothold in the first half but were on the receiving end by the Indians in the second. The much anticipated tie between the two teams by the end of the final whistle left us wore than when we started.


The Final between India and Cameroon was certainly enthralling

The Cliff Hanger award is for the best finish to the game. Although, Maldives edging out Syria in the dying minutes of extra minutes was attention-grabbing but the flavour of a penalty shootout is altogether different. Everyone, who saw the final between India and Cameroon, surveyed each move of every player. It was a game surely not for the weak-hearted as it went in to extra time and finally ended with a penalty shootout. The hosts won the match and tournament only after Cameroon missed their last spot-kick.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium might look fancy but actually it's not

The Blooper Award is actually a dig at the authorities for not providing the teams with proper playing conditions. The award is jointly shared by two moments from the Syria and Nepal game. The first is when the ground staff was seen manually sponging the water from the pitch on to large buckets before the start of the game. And the second moment came in the second half when the ground staff was brought on to inspect the field after a Syrian player tripped over a huge pothole in the midfield; the game had to be held up for ten minutes before it was resumed again.

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