Kolkata, May 25 (IANS) Thousands braved the sudden short spells of rain in the city to welcome their heroes – the Mohun Bagan footballers who returned from Guwahati after winning the coveted Federation Cup.
The scenes were almost an encore of last year when the Mariners had returned as I-League champions. This time too it took the players around two hours to make it to the club grounds from the airport, such was the outpouring of love.
Ecstatic fans on bikes escorted the team bus from the NSC Bose International airport. By the time they reached the Bagan tent, hundreds had crowded around the bus.
There wasn’t an inch of space on the club lawn where a makeshift dais was built and the players had a tough time reaching it. Moreover, amidst loud music the instructions from club officials to maintain sanity fell on deaf ears.
Finally the wait was over as Sanjoy Sen and his men made their way to the stage, all smeared with green ‘gulal’.
They took turns lifting the shining trophy and were garlanded by the likes of club greats Pradip Chowdhury, Compton Dutta, Satyajit Chatterjee, Krishnendu Roy, Manas Bhattacharya, Shibaji Banerjee and Bidesh Bose.
“Thank you for all your support. If I am here next year, we will bag another trophy, this I promise,” coach Sen said.
The ceremony ended with captain Katsumi Yusa hoisting the Green and Maroon flag. The fans then had a chance to touch the glittering piece of silverware.