New Delhi: Gokulam Kerala FC felicitated their women's team on Saturday during half time of their men's team I-League match against Punjab FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode. Along with the club felicitating their own team, their opponents of the day also congratulated the team and the support staff and had a banner for them as well.
Gokulam Kerala FC defeated Manipur's Kryphsa FC 3-2 in a thrilling final at the Bangalore Football Stadium on February 14 to become the first team from Kerala to win a national league championship.
Irom Prameshwori Devi, Kamala Devi and Sabitra Bhandari scored to take Gokulam over the line and the latter ended up as the top goalscorer of the league.Priya PV, the coach who guided Gokulam to the trophy, hoped that this victory would encourage more girls to take up the sport in the state and make it popular.
CHAMPIONS OF INDIA When the champions took the centre stage at the EMS Corporation stadium⚡️#Malabarians #GKFC #ShePower #Champions #IWLChampions pic.twitter.com/dQ4zrMBOaN— Gokulam Kerala FC (@GokulamKeralaFC) March 1, 2020
"We have worked a lot for the championship and we were able to win the title. We wish this win will help more girls to take up the sport. We hope there would be more players from the state and like men's football, women's football in the state will be popular," Priya said.
Gokulam's captain Michel Margaret Castanha thanked the management of the club for treating them "on par with the men's team". She felt the club had set a precedent for the country with how they were felicitated.
"Gokulam Kerala FC have given us a great opportunity. The club has done a lot for women's football in India and they have treated us on par with the men's team. Usually this does not happen in India and we are so thankful to the management. Conducting a felicitation ceremony during a senior league match of men's team is unheard of. I think the club has set an example to the whole country with this gesture," Castanha expressed.
The chairman of Gokulam Group of Companies Gokulam Gopalan said the women's team had "made history" and they were happy to be able to "present the trophy to the people of Kerala."
Gokulam Gopalan further said that they remained committed to the development of football and aimed to find more players and "help them bring glory to the state."
"This commitment is evident from us fielding team in the Indian Women's League while all other I-League/ISL clubs shied away from women's tournament," he said.Punjab FC also held a banner for the women's team which read "From Punjab FC and all the Punjabis, congratulations Gokulam Kerala Women's Champions of Hero Indian Women's League 2019-20".
Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj also shook hands and exchanged words with the team and its support staff.