The Chandigarh Football Academy re-inforced its credentials as among the countrys finest football factories for young talent after its U-15 squad qualified for the final of the Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) for the second successive year on Thursday. At the Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur,the Chandigarh team thrashed United Sikkim FC co-owned by Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia 4-0,in the semi-finals of the North and North-East zone of the MUPC. Striker Samuel netted a brace while Jackson and Amardeep scored a goal each. The UT team will now face MNSC Taobunghkhok (Manipur) in the final and the game will be played in Goa on May 9 and 10.
The side has been in a rampant form throughout the tournament. In the league matches,they first defeated Orissa,2-0,and then defeated Prayag United Sporting Club,1-0,to reach the semis. The match against Prayag was very tough as being the Academy of an I-League club,they have good quality players. But our players also rose to the occasion and carved out a morale-boosting win. The Prayag team had earned a penalty but Prahbsukhan Singh Gill made a good save. He has been very convincing under the bar, Sandeep Singh,CFA coach,told Newsline from Jamshedpur.
If Prabhsukhan kept them in the match,then it was Samuel Lalmuanpuias superb goal that ensured the team were well on their way to the finals.
In fact,in the absence of several key players,Samuel has not only showed his leadership skills but has carried the entire team on his shoulders. He is top scorer for Chandigarh with four goals. The dimunitive player,who is comfortable playing both as a striker and midfielder,has till now lived in the shadows of Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Khiangte Lalramzauva who are currently attending the Under-19 national camp at Goa.
Last year,the CFA team had first won the North and North-East finals,and then the India finals to make it to the South East Asia finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup,that was played in Indonesia. Daniel and Lalramzauva – popularly known as Arjit among the teammates – had played stellar roles in helping the team reach that far. Samuel had played the second-fiddle to those players despite having a brilliant tournament then.
This time,however,he has taken centre-stage. Samuel has been in brilliant form and he has scored crucial goals for us.
There are only five players from the team that won the last years India finals of MUPC. Seven of the other playing members are from the junior batch and among those,few are playing their first national tournament. Despite the lack of experience,they have played extremely well. But still,it was important that someone stepped up and inspired them all. I am happy that Samuel has done that, coach Sandeep added.