After Thursday evening at the Sesa Football Academy grounds in Goa,where Chandigarh emerged victorious over Mumbai,Prabhsukham now no longer needs to fear living in the shadows of somebody else. That is what he has been doing so,living in the shadows of Timoi,Chandigarhs first choice goalkeeper. But Thursday evening will change that. Prabhsumkham,guarding the Chandigarh citadel in Timois absence,who is away in Kolkata attending his ailing grandfather,produced some lightening saves,that not only helped Chandigarh edge past Mumbai 2-0 in the final of the Indian qualifiers for the Manchester United Premier Cup,but also ensured their place in the South East Asia finals,to be played in Indonesia in the last week of May. His fine performance under the bar also earned him the best goalkeeper of the tournament award.
Prabh was superb throughout the tournament as he conceded just one goal. He is the goalkeeper of the junior team,but his response in a big tournament like this was totally fabulous, chuckled Harjinder Singh,coach of the Chandigarh team.
If Prabhsukham was the surprise story for the Chandigarh team,then Samuel Lalmuanpuia went on to assert his image as a player of big occasions. His twin strikes in extra-time against Mumbai were exquisitely crafted. The first goal came from a looping freekicks while the second was put into the open net to perfection after he was ably fed by Daniel Lalhimpuia.
With five goals to his name in just two matches,Samuel,as expected,was declared best player of the tournament. He was also the top scorer for Chandigarh in the North,North East,East qualifiers,that was played in Jamshedpur few days ago.
In big league
After beating top teams from India,like Mizoram,Jharkhand and Orissa in the qualifiers at Jharkhand,Chandigarh showed they certainly were not a spent force after winning the Dr BC Roy Trophy for the Under-19 championship in 2010. Reaching the Indian qualifiers of the MUPC and beating top Indian football states like Goa by 6-0 showed Harjinder and his boys are creating big ripples in Indian football.
Throughout the tournament we were the dominant side in the midfield. Our players improved with each match and they performed beyond expectations. Beating teams like Goa shows that Chandigarh players have the desire and quality to become a top football side, echoed Harjinder.
Now the stage is perfectly set for Chandigarh to stake their claim for the world finals to be played in England. Exactly four years ago,another team from Chandigarh,St Stephens Football Academy,had qualified for the South East Asia finals held at Kuala Lumpur,but failed to get going past that stage. However,keeping the recent performances in view,Harjinder and his merry band of boys promises to do better than that.