by BIS Correspondent
MUMBAI, MAR 15, 2016: 'The candle burned out long before the legend ever will …' Elton John's rendition of 'Candle in the wind' captures the tragic circumstances that surrounded the untimely death of seven students - Bernadette D'Souza, Taha Shaikh, Sharjeel Shaikh, Aakash Thapar, Brian Fernando, Sajid Chaudhary and Irvin D'Souza – from Don Bosco College in Kurla, in deadly blaze that engulfed the Kurla eatery they visited in October 2015.
Four-months on, their college paid tribute to them by organising 'Don Bosco Challenge Cup 2016', a month-long football tournament, which began on February 14 and ended on March 13.
"It's not easy to deal with the tragedy, for the parents, their colleagues and the management. We cannot bring them back but can keep their memories alive," Father Joe Braganza, wrote in the circular announcing the Don Bosco Challenger Cup. "Considering that some of them were popular footballers, we felt a football tournament in their memory would be a fitting tribute for the young lives 'Gone too soon'."
Entry to the, eight-a-side tournament, was restricted to 16 top teams from the MDFA Elite, Super and First divisions. Matches were contested over two 25-minute-long halves, with a total prize pool of Rs. 70,000/- at stake.
Kenkre under-19's emerged eventual winners, as they edged out Karnatak Sporting Association (KSA), 5-3 in the final via a penalty shoot-out. Kenkre dominated in the first half. Their first chance came early when Shuntan played an early cross in the box, but the referee caught Arfhat off-side, as he attempted to break the ice.
KSA counter attacked with an attempt from Nadeem Khan, whose powerful shot was fired wide off the left-hand post. As the match matured, both sides looked to defend, as a result neither side created enough goal-scoring chances. The cautious approach hampered fluidity and consistency in their attacks as a number of half-chances and potential goal-scoring chances from open-play and set-pieces were wasted.
In the dying minutes of the half, Kenkre drew first blood, as Nathan Fernandes made the most of a clever back-heeled pass from Arfat Ansari, to find the net.
The second-30 minutes began in a similar fashion to the first-half. Kenkre attacked, but failed to add to their tally. As the match reached its climax, KSA came agonizingly close to an equalizing-goal, but heroics from Kenkre's goalkeeper, Joe, kept them at bay. KSA finally drew even - in the first minute of added time - when Shailesh J tapped in the equalizer from close-range.
In the pulsating penalty shoot-out that followed, Kenkre's side kept their composure and Shuntan scored the winning penalty that helped his side lift the title. Shuntan bagged the award for the Best Defender of the tournament and Shailesh J was duly credited as the Best player of the tournament.