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Shah, Buddha praise EB win
EAST BENGAL'S HAUL
To the team, for winning the ASEAN Club Championship — $50,000
Man of the Final — Bhaichung Bhutia
Highest scorer(Golden Boot) — Bhutia, 9 goals
Best goalkeeper of meet — Sandip Nandy

Calcutta, July 26: East Bengal’s feat at the ASEAN club championship in Jakarta drew plaudits from all around, including Governor Viren J. Shah and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Saturday.

“I congratulate the East Bengal club for their historic win. The grit and team-work displayed by the players concerned have given a much-needed fillip to Indian football,” the Governor said in a message here. “I am confident that East Bengal will conquer greater heights in future.”

The chief minister, at a function, said: “My best compliment to East Bengal. They really made the country proud.”

The city’s mayor Subrata Mukherjee, a supporter and member of arch rivals Mohun Bagan, said: “I want them to achieve as much success as they can in overseas tournaments…”

Emotions in the city erupted like a volcano, hardly dampened by the rains. The mood reflected in the faces of hundreds of fans who thronged the red-and-gold team’s tent since the evening.

The club officials had a harried time answering the telephone as congratulatory messages poured in. In the middle of all that were the two men — Debabrata Sarkar and Swapan Bal — who also played a key role in making the team.

Indian Bank coach V. P. Sathyan (here on their Federation Cup engagement), said: “I feel really proud to be an Indian today… history has been created. East Bengal have shown the world that India too can play football. To beat a team from Thailand is a wonderful achievement. This should be an eye opener to all the other Indian clubs.”

Salgaocar coach Savio Madeira said: “Their attitude has been very different and their achievement is a reward for that. This result should be a serious lesson for the rest of the country. I am very happy for my player, Alvito. He was wasting his talent and no matter how much I told him, he wasn’t listening. Now he is coming of age…”

A big reception has been arranged for the team which returns Tuesday (at 10.30 pm by Singapore Airlines). “Maybe a felicitation will have to be put on hold since our Federation Cup engagements start Thursday,” Sarkar maintained.

The club will hoist the flag in celebration of the win at 11 am on Sunday.

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