Shillong, April 30 (IANS) All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel congratulated Aizawl FC for creating history on Sunday by becoming the first club from the northeast to win the I-League.
Aizawl rode on a second half strike from William Lalnunfela to hold Shillong Lajong FC to a 1-1 draw here. That saw them finish their full quota of 18 matches with 37 points, one ahead of eventual runners-up Mohun Bagan.
"Aizawl FC's triumph unfurls a new chapter in Indian football history. This victory will encourage the youth of the country and create a self-belief that on the football pitch, you can pull it off with teamwork. Congratulations," Patel said in a statement.
I-League CEO Sunando Dhar meanwhile, asserted that Aizawl's historic run to the title will encourage other clubs from the region to dream big and emulate their success.
"It is a historic day for Indian football. It's great for a club from northeast to win the highest football award of the country," Dhar told IANS.
"Northeast and Mizoram in particular have been doing really well and this proves their supremacy. This will also give an opportunity for other clubs to learn," he added.
AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das also praised the Aizawl players, coaching staff and officials, crediting the title triumph to their determination and ability to conduct a successful campaign on a low budget.
"Aizawl FC's victory substantiates the fact that smart management in a football club can reap dividends. The manner in which the club with a shoe-string budget managed to overpower the bigwigs will be spoken about in Indian football history for ever," he said.
"They are the deserving champions. Congratulations!"