New Delhi: Subroto Cup, the annual football fiesta for finding the country's future hopefuls, had a surprise winner this year. Boys from Nepal's Nobel Academy got past 34 other schools in the competition to lift the junior's trophy. This is the third win for a Nepal team, but certainly a first for Nepal's Under-17 team. The Nepalese team was locked at 1-1 with Chandigarh Model School at the end of regulation and extra time. A penalty shootout then decided the winner and the boys from across the border won 7-6 to win the title. "It is the first time that a Nepal team has won in the juniors of the Subroto Cup. My tribute to Nepal for the development of football. It is a lesson to India, which is a much larger country with a bigger history," said Novy Kapadia, football expert. Benefits seen The benefits were there for all to see. Nobel Academy's team had also finished runners up in the Under-14 final. "The boys had prepared well for this tournament. Most of these boys will appear for the Asian qualifier to be held in November. Hence, we were already preparing for it," Raju Sake, coach, Nepal team. However, the one positive feature from this year's edition of the Subroto Cup was the emergence of teams from North India. Talent on display Traditionally this event has been dominated by schools from the East. So there was plenty of talent on display, but All Indian Football Federation talent spotters said selection isn't always easy. "There is an uneven competition. One rarely gets to pick the quality player as many lose out on matches for having to play with a lesser teams. Moreover, to get to Subroto Cup, competition between the zones should be tougher," said Alok Roy, selector, AIFF. The competition can be tougher, the age testing can be more rigid and of course many things need to improve. But whatever the faults, the Indian Air Force needs to be credited for running this all India schools event for the last 45 years. Perhaps what's needed now is for the event to unearth another Baichung Bhutia.
Topics : Football