IMAGE: Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri was being pushed by West Bengal governor La Ganesan while the trophy was being handed over to the player in the presence of state sports minister Aroop Biswas. Photograph: Screenshot/Twitter
Two months into his stint as West Bengal governor, La Ganesan copped national criticism for pushing Indian football talisman Sunil Chhetri, in order to get clicked during the Durand Cup prize distribution ceremony in Kolkata.
The 38-year-old Indian captain added an elusive Durand Cup title to his illustrious career when he led Bengaluru FC to their maiden crown in Asia’s oldest football tournament following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over their Indian Super League rivals Mumbai City FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
But the prize distribution ceremony turned controversial when
Realising that he is not in the frame for the media photographers, Ganesan pushed Chettri and the player obliged.
There has been no response yet from the champions Bengaluru FC or the governor’s office, but the incident was widely slammed on various social media platforms.
“Disgraceful,” former India cricketer Aakash Chopra said on Twitter.
“Five seconds that show you everything that’s wrong with Indian sport. It seems that they won the Durand Cup, not Sunil Chhetri and Bengaluru FC!,” said Joy Bhattacharja, a former Kolkata Knight Riders team director.
Sivasakthi Narayanan opened the scoring for Bengaluru early in the first-half but the Islanders drew level through Apuia Ralte ahead of the break.
A magical Chhetri corner then brought up the winner as his delivery floated in with pace for Alan Costa to rise to the occasion and do the needful.
Chhetri has spoken about the importance of Durand Cup in his career.
“Two decades is a bit of a wait, but if it meant doing it in the blue of Bengaluru, then it was worth every season of trying,” Chhetri tweeted, posing with the trophy with his wife Sonam.
“Durand Cup Champions – would have been a shame if an Army kid playing football professionally never had the chance to say this. Come on, BFC.”