Sanju Football Academy wins C-Division

Sanju Football Academy
Wed, Jun 12, 2019

Sanju Football Academy, a West Sikkim football club based in Sombaria, has won the C-Division S-League in their first attempt.
After giving away their lead towards the end of the 70 minutes of play, the debutants held their nerves to beat Sikkim Boys 4-3 in tie-breaker at Paljor Stadium here today, and maintain their unbeaten run in the third-tier football tournament.
With both teams having already promoted to B-Division 2020, the final was just a battle between the two sides to decide the champions. Both teams, with 13 points apiece, had finished top of their respective group to qualify for the decider.
Red Panda FC, who finished a point behind Sanju Football Academy in Group A, and Group B runners-up Brotherhood FC were also promoted to B-Division by Sikkim Football Association. This is for the first time that more than two teams have been promoted to second tier of the league.
The Sanju Football Academy and Sikkim Boys, having been placed in two different groups, had not faced each other in the league before and the final was an opportunity between the two top teams to prove the might.
Both the teams started off strongly testing each other’s defenders and with their attacks. Both teams has their share of goal scoring opportunities however the score remained 0-0 before Sanju Football Academy broke the deadlock in the dying minutes of the game.
Two-footed Ingsha Subba, who played at left wing in the first half of the game and at right in the second, tapped in from close range to score the first goal of the match in the dying minutes and put his team on a brink of win. However, to their dismay, they conceded an equaliser from King Lepcha in the added time and the game headed into tie-breaker.
In the penalty shoot-out Sikkim Boys missed two shots to handover the title to Sanju Football Academy.
Sanju FA was founded by international footballer and ISL player Sanju Pradhan from the State few years ago, with an aim to promote grass-root football and provide platform to the budding footballers from the rural areas.
After the match, Sanju Football Academy founder and mentor Sanju Pradhan said, “I am extremely happy and proud of my boys who proved their worth in the first season itself. The boys delivered a great show throughout the league and I feel we deserved the champion’s title. We have been training for quite a long time and I feel our hard work has paid off. This win has really motivated me. I will nurture these budding talents even more so that I can produce more better and talented players in future who will make the nation proud.”
In the next five years, the ISL player said, the academy will try to produce players that are capable of representing the State at the national and international levels.
The final was witnessed by Forest minister and former footballer Karma Loday Bhutia as the chief guest, former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, SFA president Menla Ethenpa among others.
The league organised by Sikkim Football Association annually featured 12 teams this year.

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