Futsal Club Championship 2024
Right preparations won the title for Corbett, says coach Mohammad Rizwan
09 Jul 2024

AIFF Media Team

Corbett FC took to the futsal court in Gujarat by storm. Debutants only by name, but not by their game. A staggering 48 goals in seven games en route to lifting the trophy after Sunday's final. The numbers speak for their dominance.

But they were given a real test by Golazo FC, and it took an extra-time winner from who else but PC Lalruatsanga in the 49th minute to seal the title. Twice Corbett had taken the lead in regular time, but Golazo crawled back each time. However, when teenage sensation Lalruatsanga, hiding in plain sight at the back post, slid in to convert Pratik Swami's inch-perfect cross, there was no time for another comeback. Corbett FC ran out deserved winners, becoming the first Uttarakhand side to win an AIFF tournament. Lalruatsanga's 17 goals, more than a third of Corbett's, earned him the Golden Boot.

"The key to our championship success was the quality of our players, our positive attitude, and thorough preparation," said head coach Mohammad Rizwan.

Corbett literally faced every sort of challenge in their path to becoming champions. If the final was a test of their perseverance, the semi-final against Ambelim produced some heart-in-the-mouth moments when their 6-2 lead with just 10 minutes to go was slashed to 6-5 and they had to scrape through to the finish line. The wild celebrations at the whistle, perhaps more impassioned than the ones after the final, conveyed it all.

"The semi-final against Ambelim was a tough battle as we expected but we managed to clinch a 6-5 victory. In the final, Golazo posed a formidable challenge with their solid tactical prowess and technical skills," said Rizwan.

"In the end, celebrating with my teammates is a memory I'll forever cherish," he added.

And until the semi-finals, they spewed pure dominance on the futsal court. An 11-1 demolition of former champions Delhi FC, a 9-0 drubbing of Nyenshen FC, eight past Classic Football Academy, six past Millat FC and five past Sports Odisha. There was no stopping Rizwan's army.

The army spearheaded by Lalruatsanga, and well complemented by the likes of Pratik Swami, Aaron Dcosta, Malsawmtluanga Pautu, Lalbiakzuala, and captain and goalkeeper Lhakpa Dorjee Bhutia. They hail from various corners of the country but on the court of the Swarnim Gujarat Sports University, they synced with perfection.

"Our two-week camp helped fine-tune our strategy. We planned each match based on the opponents' strengths and weaknesses. We learned from our mistakes and improved continuously," said Rizwan.

Humble words. They didn't make many mistakes in these two weeks but that hunt for perfection pushed them to the champions crown.

"It's a remarkable achievement for us at Corbett FC. It reflects on our dedication, teamwork and determination," added Rizwan.

However, it would not be fair if we don't speak about the other challengers who may have fallen short of the trophy but did their part in lighting up the third edition of the AIFF Futsal Club Championship.

Golazo FC, who weren't only free-scoring but watertight too, boasted the best defensive record with just eight goals conceded. FC Thyristor, Ramhlun Venglai, the Mizoram champions and debutants at the national stage, who had a great run into the semi-finals with mostly homegrown talents. Ambelim SC, who sent defending champions Minerva Academy FC packing with a sensational 8-2 victory. Debutants Millat FC, who overcame the opening-day defeat to win three in a row and qualify for the quarter-finals. Speed Force FC, who must feel unlucky to miss out on the knockout stage by the barest of margins despite winning three thrilling matches.

15 days, 43 matches, 386 goals. The AIFF Futsal Club Championship 2023-24 was an out-and-out success. A celebration of the sport of futsal, which is gradually finding its feet in the country.

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