Kolkata Maidan rivalry in play on London football ground | Kolkata News

The centuries-old rivalry – of the socio-cultural supremacy of “Bangal” (as the Bengalis on the undivided East Bengal side of India are called) and Ghoti (Bengalis of West Bengal) – has been played out in a Bengal oriental fun – Mohun Bagan fans football tournament in London on Saturday.
The highlight of the fifth edition of Indian Fan’ Alliance (IF A) Shield UK 2022 at Slough FC’s home ground, Arbor Park, was the delightful “ilish-chingri” festival (“ilish” or hilsa fish symbolizes the people of West Bengal and “chingri” or prawns their Eastern counterparts). The organizers, Heritage Bengal Global (HBG), the Bengali diaspora in the UK, had enlisted Indian officials in the UK, to play a match, as part of “Azadi Ki Mahotsav”, the 75th anniversary of independence from India. They won the 2022 Aidias Super Shield, beating fan teams East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
Several Bengal entities like Sister Nivedita University, IIHM, Aditya Academy, Aidias Consulting, iLEAD, Acquist Reality, Chess Solicitor and George Telegraph Institute supported the tournament, as well as East Bengal and Mohun Bagan clubs themselves. Pointers Business Forum in Kolkata, a growing ecosystem of MSME businesses, was also a patron.
The Honorary Secretary of the Football Association of India, Anirban Dutta, hailed the efforts being made to spread the sporting tradition of Bengal to the world. Mohammedan Sporting club secretary Dipendu Biswas has expressed keen interest in collaborating in next year’s tournament, completing the trio with East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
Royal Air Force (RAF) officers handed out prizes at the end of almost six hours of football, fun and entertainment. Kreamz East Bengal child fans won the Aditya Academy IFA Shield UK for Kids and HDFC Mohun Bagan female fans won the IIHM IFA Shield UK for Women. The coveted SNU IFA Shield UK for Men was won by Colors of India East Bengal fan team who beat Chess Solicitors Mohun Bagan by a lone goal in a closely contested final.
Maidan legend Chima Okerie, a regular visitor to the annual tournament for the past four years, tried out for the role of referee in the inaugural fan derby game. He also launched the IFA Shield UK 2022 theme song sung by famous Bollywood Amit Kumar the day before the game at the statue of Swami Vivekananda in Harrow.
HBG Director Anirban Mukhopadhyay said: “This year’s success and enthusiasm has already caught the attention of the RAF and next year we could see all three British Armed Forces participating. Pay attention to the Atlanta edition of Indian Fans’ Alliance Shield Global on August 14 and the Sydney edition on November 26 this year.

James C. Tibbs