Local team wins national school games football under-14 title

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After the goalless draw, Sumit Rathi just couldn't stop smiling as the left-back had given the Chandigarh team some more time to dream. And the rock-solid defender helped that dream come true as the Government Model High School, Sector 36 team, which was representing Chandigarh and was led by Deepak Tangre, defeated West Bengal 4-3 in a penalty shootout to win the 58th National School Games Football U-14 tournament at the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA) ground on Thursday evening.

In May earlier this year, Sumit was part of the Chandigarh team that won the India finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup and qualified for the Manchester United Premier Cup- 2012 South East Asia Finals, held in Indonesia. But he was dropped from the team as he was hit by chicken pox. So, it was more of redemption for Sumit against West Bengal in the final, and he was adjudged the best defender of the tournament.

"Sumit was excellent as a defender. It was unfortunate that he missed out on the Manchester Cup finals in Indonesia due to chicken pox. I am really happy that the team won the tournament," Sandeep Singh, coach of the Chandigarh team, said on the phone from Mumbai.

Sumit was ably assisted by Prabhsukhan Singh Gill whose goal-saving abilities rescued the team in penalty shootouts, right from the league matches. He won the best goalkeeper of the tournament award.

"Before the final, I gave a little pep talk to the players. I told them people only remember the champion teams and not those who finish second or third. We were battling injuries and in the final we were facing the Bengal team which had more variety in their attack. However, our players were also motivated and they showed how hungry they were," added Sandeep.

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