Aaditya Thackeray: “I promise to make next season better.”

On 30th April 2018, the curtain fell on the MDFA Season 2017-18 with the conclusion of the MDFA Awards Night. It was the second year of MDFA Awards Night where the clubs and players from all over the Mumbai are being rewarded for their achievement throughout the season. This time, there were hosts of legends present at the event which was held at the Cooperage Stadium. Former Indian International Shabbir Ali, I.M Vijayan, Former Hockey player M.M Somaiya, and MDFA President Aaditya Thackeray were among the few to grace the event.

Shabbir Ali, a Dhyan Chand awardee, upon being felicitated by MDFA President Aaditya Thackeray, said: “I’ve been all over the country but I’ve never seen such a grand awards night. What more motivation do the kids need.” Shabbir Ali, who has Captained India that won the Asian Youth Championship in 1974 also discuss the Indian National Team with The Times of India.

“We must not underestimate India also. Take the example of ISL (Indian Super League), when the foreign coaches came, they did not know about the Indian players. But after two years, everybody came to know about the Indian players, because of the coverage and the performance. They have improved to some extent, but they have to perform at the international stage.”

“I don’t know what will be the result, but we have to play with the stronger opposition as well as those who are little below us. In our time also, long back, we lost 1-0 to New Zealand. I am not sure in which year and in which tournament, we played with them during 1977-1980.”

“We have to play. Since we are playing the Asian Cup, it will be very good that we are playing against stronger opposition, we will come to know about our strengths also,” Shabbir Ali, quoted by TOI.

After felicitating Shabbir Ali, Aaditya Thackeray also felicitated Former India’s striker I.M Vijayan, also known as Kalo Hiran (Black Buck) during his playing days. “I am very delighted. Generally, people say that ‘Kolkata’ is the mecca of football but, honestly, I have never seen such a function in Kolkata. Yesterday, I attended the Zonal Tournament (Supremo Chashak) where I saw a huge crowd turning up which was a delight to see. I thank Aaditya Sir for inviting all of us.”

While playing for India in the SAF Games 1999, against Bhutan, I.M Vijayan netted one of the fastest ever International goals when he opened the scoring within 12 seconds. The Black Buck went on to score 40 goals for the Indian National Team in just 79 matches.

MDFA President Aaditya Thackeray, after felicitating the Indian Legends, gave a beautiful closure which officially marked the end of the 2017-18 footballing season. “Thank you all for coming here today. This is our second edition of MDFA Awards Night and we will definitely make it better and bigger every year. I promise you to make this the ‘Ballon d’Or’ of Indian Football. We won’t only reward footballers from Mumbai but all over the country.”

“I am eternally thankful to the Indian Football team, AIFF, Mr. Praful Patel, and all the MDFA staff who have made this season possible and successful. I know there have been some mistakes within us, we are not the best, but I promise to make next season better in terms of schedule and discipline. I can assure you of that,” Aaditya Thackeray concluded.