HT looks at the five decisive points that helped Churchill create history
Low on match-time, having spent most of the season at Sporting Lisbon B on the bench, India captain Sunil Chhetri (in pic) joined Churchill Brothers on loan in February. He scored the matchwinner against Pune FC on April 5 to end a five-match winless run and two more against Dempo in a 2-2 draw on April 17. And the 71st minute goal that sealed the league for Churchill on Tuesday was awarded to him. With a match in hand, Chhetri scored four goals in the I-League.
One more to the cabinet
By helming Churchill Brothers to their second I-League title, Subhas Bhowmick became the only man to win national league titles with different clubs. A member of the 1970 Asian Games bronze medal winning India team, Bhowmick won the National League with East Bengal in 2002-03 and 2003-04. With East Bengal, Bhowmick also won the ASEAN Cup on 2003. Since Bhowmick doesn’t have a coaching badge, he is the technical director with Mariano Dias as coach.
35 of Churchill Brothers's 53 goals came from three players. Gabonese striker Henry Antchouet scored 12. 13 came Brazilian playmaker Beto who won two I-Leagues with Dempo before switching to the red shirts in 2011-12. Before he left, Lebanese striker Akram Moghrabi scored 10 goals.
Bhowmick reposed faith in cast-offs such as 38-year-old Sandip Nandy, Steven Dias and Tomba Singh, a group of unknowns such as Israel Gurung and Bikramjit Singh, got Bineesh Balan to live up to his promise and blended that with a judicious quartet of imports.
By winning the I-League, Churchill Brothers will get a cheque of R70 lakh and at least R 5.25 lakh for winning 15 of their 26 matches because the AIFF gives a win bonus of R 35000 per match.