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Mohammedan Sporting's ISL promotion a big positive for Indian Football, says AIFF chief Kalyan Chaubey

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Kolkata, April 13 (IANS) Around 25,000-odd fans flocked to the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Stadium on Saturday to witness Mohammedan Sporting lift their first I-League title. For a 133-year-old club that has multiple domestic titles under their belt, lifting the trophy of a national league was indeed a long-awaited achievement.

The All-India Football Federation President Kalyan Choubey has hailed Sporting's promotion to the Indian Super League (ISL) as a big positive for Indian football as it would bring more passionate fans to the stadiums.

It was only four years ago that Mohammedan Sporting won the second division to gain promotion to the I-League (the fourth time they got promoted to the national league), but the celebrations were somewhat subdued at the VYBK; it was 2020, and fans had to support their respective teams from the confines of their homes.

Four years down the line, the passion invoked by Mohammedan Sporting was clearly visible in the stands as their fans, who have not had much to celebrate for most of the past decade, poured into the cauldron to watch their team lift their maiden league title.

It may have initially been somewhat of a bitter pill for the supporters, as Mohammedan Sporting, who had already confirmed their top spot in the league, suffered a 1-3 defeat at the hands of sixth-placed Delhi FC.

However, once AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey presented the I-League trophy to Mohammedan Sporting captain Samad Ali Mallick, and defenders Zodingliana, and Joseph Adjei, the VYBK erupted in celebrations of the Black and White Brigade’s first I-League title.

Congratulating Mohammedan Sporting on their promotion, the AIFF President said: “Mohammedan Sporting’s promotion to the ISL on the virtue of becoming the I-League 2023–24 Champions is a big positive for Indian football. This is a club older than FIFA. Given their dedicated brand of fans across the country, Mohammedan Sporting’s entry in the ISL will certainly do good for India’s top league. It will bring more spectators to the ground.”

Present with Chaubey on the podium to hand over the trophy and the medals were AIFF Executive Committee members Arif Ali, Syed Husnain Naqvi, and Shabbir Ali, Honorary Secretary, UP Football Sangh, Mohammad Shahid, and Honorary Secretary, Jharkhand Football Association, Ghulam Rabbani.

Mohammedan Sporting finished their campaign with 52 points from 24 matches, having won 15, drawn seven and lost only two games.

As the Black and Whites look to prepare for promotion and all the ramp-up in activities that come with it, the ardent fans of the third giants from Kolkata can again take solace from rubbing shoulders with the best across the country.

--IANS

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