Bengaluru, 24 Jan 2018: Debutants Canara Bank Hockey team who were granted direct affiliation by Hockey India to the B Division of the Senior National Hockey Championship displayed their skill and talent to reach the finals and achieved their goal of gaining a promotion to the A Division Senior Nationals in their very first attempt.
The 8th Hockey India Senior National Championships “B” Division Championships held at Imphal, Manipur from January 7 to 21 saw two bank teams reach the final and Punjab National Bank overcame a tough Canara Bank through a 2-0 verdict to win the honours. In the semifinals, Canara Bank, edged out Central Secretariat through a solitary 25th-minute goal while Punjab National Bank halted the progress of Bengaluru Hockey Association with a huge 8-1 win.
Former India international Shanmugham, a celebrated player of his days, had been a regular for the more than a decade and a half for the Bank, and is currently doing yeoman service coaching the underprivileged children at the Jude Felix Academy. It is a credit that the soft-spoken former centre-half coached the team to success at the Nationals. The team also had the services of another former India trainer, Sampath Kumar, who implements a tough but friendly fitness sessions, with his Services background standing in good stead.
The team boasts of some experienced players who are still managing to take forward the Bank team with the support of some fresh blood. Ronald Kiran, Verghese John, Sunil Benjamin and MV Rama Rao are some of the seniors while the duo of KM Somanna and Pradhan Somanna are in their prime now with a couple of youngsters drawing their first blood in the Nationals to get their top laurels, a stunning silver medal straight away.
However, it was goalkeeper Jagdeep Dayal who was adjudged as the best goalkeeper of the Nationals B.
Verghese John Kallikkadan scored through a penalty stroke in the 56th minute to get Canara Bank a 1-0 win over Vidarbha Hockey Association in a Pool B match which was a crucial tie at that stage. It was their second consecutive win in the league phase before a thumping win against Andhra 4-1.
Canara Bank produced a great performance to win their third consecutive match defeating Hockey Andhra Pradesh 4-1. They struck twice in the 12th and 23rd minutes to take a 2-0 lead but Hockey AP pulled back in the 35th minute through Venkata Sree Balaji Aripeneni. However, Canara Bank scored twice again to secure a 4-1 victory to top Pool B. Nikkin Thimmaiah’s brace (23’, 37’) and a goal each from G N Pruthviraj (12’) and K P Somaiah secured the win for Canara Bank. In the first match, the Bankmen thrashed Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) 3-0.
In the Quarterfinals, they were once again in fine fettle routing Delhi by a comfortable 4-1 margin before the tough semifinal.
Kannan Krishnamurthy of Bengaluru Hockey Association praised the team efforts on social media (FB) saying: “Canada Bank Deserves to be in the A Division which they fetched in style in the maiden attempt itself. Kudos to the entire team… What is needed now is sustaining and enhancing the standard with a few more valuable additions to the team. Great show!”
On the same thread, Ramesh Parameswaran, former India coach, who had seen many of them grow as players, said: “Congratulations Team Canara Bank… Coach Shan and Silent contributor for years for CAB Belly… prepare for A division win..gl.gb all.”
Caption: From left: Standing: Bipin Bopaiah (Captain), K S Appanna, Verghese John, K Sampath Kumar (Trainer), L Ronald Kiran, B M Belliappa(Manager), P Shanmugham (Coach), P Sunil Benjamin, K P Dinesh, MV Rama Rao, KM Somanna, Pradhan Somanna
Sitting: Sanjay B, K P Somaiah, Abhishek Gowda, Moses P, Pruthviraj, Rathan Muthanna, Krishna Reddy, Nikkin Thimmaiah, Jagdeep Dayal.
eom/posted by David Bodapati