Bringing the sporting flavours of India to Australia, Sydney once again witnessed the epic rivalry between the two Kolkata (capital of the Indian state of West Bengal) football clubs, ‘Mohun Bagan’ and ‘East Bengal’.
The two teams were represented by their fans from the Indian subcontinental diaspora in Sydney playing for the Indian Fans’ Alliance Shield (IFA) Australia. The IFA first internationally started in the UK in 2018 while this was its second edition in Australia.
The euphoria of ‘bangal-ghoti’ or ‘illish-chingri’ rivalry and the fervour of IFA (East Bengal – Mohun Bagan derby) was palpable as men, women and children’s teams took to the grounds to put their best foot forward.
Dr. Judhyajit Choudhuri, Arpan Mazumder and Debdeep Panigrahi speak with Pallavi Jain
There were 8 teams this time four from each side (Names of the teams – Bhaichung Bhutia XI, Krishanu Dey XI, Chuni Goswami XI , Satyajit Chatterjee XI , Bonghudyut, Uttaran, Arohan, Volatile Bongs) who fought it out intensely for the coveted trophy. This year contestants from the Indian, Bangladeshi and Nepali diaspora took part in the matches.
Final was between Bhaichung Bhutia XI and Chuni Goswami XI. East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan 1-0 to lift the IFA shield Australia 2023. Mohun Bagan won 2nd and 3rd place.
Deputy Mayor Cumberland City Council Suman Saha with the winning team
East Bengal also won the women and children’s competition.
Women’s teams enjoying the game
The event took place at the Granville Centre is Sydney.
Kids too having a go with the football
The event was attended by NSW MPs Julia Finn (Granville), Jason Yat-Sen Li (Starthfield) and Charisma Kaliyanda (Liverpool), Consul and Head of Chancellery at the Indian Consulate in Sydney, Sanjay Muluka, Lord Mayor of Parramatta Sameer Pandey, Deputy Mayor of Cumberland Suman Saha and Strathfield Councillor Raj Datta.
The event also had the support of All India Football Federation.
The committee members of IFA Australia who brought this event into action are Dr. Judhyajit Choudhuri, Subasish Das, Arpan Mazumder, Sayan Raha, Debdeep Panigrahi, Souveek Halder and Avishek Mitra