CHENNAI: The denouement was an anti-climax but the players wanted one more. A 5-0 outcome has a more rounded feel to it than 4-0. So they went forward one more time. And they scored one more to make it 5-0.
Hindustan Eagles, the latest champions of Chennai Football Association’s Senior Division league. The result was never in doubt against a leggy Chennai City Police from the moment they lost ‘keeper John Killbert to a last man offence in the 34th minute. Then on, the match resembled a procession.
Eagles were leading 1-0 then and their controlled aggression saw them score four more times. No surprises over the scorers — Babatunde Ayomide hit the first and completed the final rites. His brace was sandwiched by a fine double by Nbusiyu David Opara. Nandakumar also got in on the act.
Speaking after the match at Nehru Stadium on Thursday, coach Robin Charles had the look of a satisfied man. “The table never lies and I’m happy we won it,” he said. Starting the day a point behind Chennai FC, a win was required to celebrate a first triumph at this level.
Did the pressure ever get to the players? “Not really. I just told the players to keep hold of the ball and the goals will follow. In the first half we wanted to make things happen and in the second we were more patient. I think that helped us.”
This is Charles’ second senior division title (the first came when he was employed by Chennai Customs in the 2009-10 season). Asked which one he thought was better, he had no doubts. “I think this is better. That team (Chennai Customs) had a better structure to it. For this team, I had to actually build the squad. I had to bring them together. It was a new team than when I took over in 2012.”
The privately-owned side has come a long way since winning First Division in 2012. They finished eighth in 2013 and sixth last season.
Charles made special mention of Babatunde (12 goals) and Opara (10), the leading marksmen. “I personally went and talked to them and roped them in. They definitely gave the side an edge when compared to last year. I appreciate them, their humbleness and unity.”
Is he going to rest on his laurels? “No. The league will be more challenging next year. The promoted team, Chennai FC, will be hard to beat. They won all 11 of their first division matches and scored around 60 goals in the process.”