Kolkata, Dec 24: The members of the victorious inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament, Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) were today felicitated by West Bengal government and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
"The victory will inspire youngsters to play football. We love Kolkata and we are proud of you Team Kolkata, Thank you so much," state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said at the programme held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here.
"We convey our best wishes to those, who are trying to popularise football at grass-root level. We have to groom budding sportspersons," she said.
Though ATK's foreign recruits have returned home, local players Mohammad Rafique, who scored the winning goal in the final against Kerala Blasters, Arnab Mondal, Sanju Pradhan, Baljit Sahni, Biswajit Saha, Rakesh Masih, Kingshuk Debnath, goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury were present.
The CM handed over gifts, 'uttariya' and a special trophy to the players. Besides them, the assistant coach, physio and team doctor, ATK co-owners Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, and Utsav Parekh were also felicitated by Banerjee, who also cut a cake that looked like the ISL winner's Cup.
Another co-owner, former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, was absent, as he is now in Australia for his commentary stint.
Conveying her best wishes to the ISL organiers, the eight teams, she said, "We are missing Sourav today." AIFF president Praful Patel was present in the programme besides star footballers from the 70's like Goutam Sarkar, Shyam Thapa, Prasanta Banerjee, Bidesh Bose, Manash Bhattacharya, Samaresh (Pintu) Chowdhury along with tennis coach Akhtar Ali.
Tollywood actors Prosenjit, Dev, Parambrata Chatterjee, singer Usha Uthup and a host of state ministers were present at the programme.