SHILLONG: OM Roy Memorial Higher Secondary School won the final of the under-17 boys Subroto Cup football tournament in terrific fashion, outplaying Magurmari High School, Assam, 4-0 in a thrilling final at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.
Mebanshan Suting scored for the Meghalaya school in the 35th minute, but that proved to be the only goal of the first half as Assam held on.
In the second session, however, Jefferson Nongrud (46th minute), Lenningstar Kynter (61st min) and Michaelson Kurbah (69th min) found the net to seal the contest.
This is the third time that a school from Meghalaya has won the U-17 boys title and the first victory for OM Roy Memorial. Past winners from the state are St Anthony’s HSS in 1978 and Government Boys HS in 1999.
OM Roy were unbeaten in the tournament, having won all their group games and progressing through the knock-out matches in fine form.
The first half was evenly contested and Meghalaya had to fight hard before Mebanshan gave them the lead before half time.
The goal was a big lift to the morale of the Meghalaya players and they completely dominated the second half.
First Jefferson doubled the lead with a diving header off a cross a few minutes after the restart.
Lenningstar then took Assam by surprise by taking a long-range shot that was struck sweetly into the net.
Michaelson also scored his goal via a header; he was unmarked and easily placed the ball into the net following a cross from Jefferson.
The OM Roy boys played truly exciting football. They developed attacks into opposition territory from their own half. The passing between the players was excellent and the overall teamwork was second to none.
Assam, for their part, went all out for the victory as they slipped further behind.
In the 65th minute their striker Kapil forced a save from OM Roy goalkeeper Banshanlang Sten, who had to dive up and to his right to prevent a sure goal.
The Assam school were disadvantaged somewhat after several of their players were disqualified due to being over age and they were able to field just 11 players, leaving them no substitutes. Assam had also played their last match on Thursday, while Meghalaya had a week’s rest.
Mebanshan ended the Cup as the second-highest goal-scorer and was named Best Player. He admitted that his team did not play that well early on in the game.
“We did not play very well in the first half, but we managed to find our rhythm in the second,” he said after the match.
Among the many other recipients of awards, Banshanlang was named Best Goalkeeper and OM Roy coach Jeffrey Warlarpih was given the Best Coach award.
At the presentation ceremony was legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, who distributed the medals and trophy to the winning team.
Also present at the final were scouts from I-League teams Shillong Lajong FC and Pune FC, who have selected 15 boys between them for trials with the clubs.
Further rewards lie in the Bayern Youth Cup, a tournament organized by a Subroto Cup sponsor in association with Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. The tournament is scheduled to be held in New Delhi by year’s end.
OM Roy Memorial will be part of the tournament.
OM Roy awardees:
Banshanlang Sten – Best Goalkeeper; Mebanshan Suting – Best Player; Jeffery Warlarpih – Best Coach (with agency inputs)