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AIFF felicitates retiring Lawrence, Gawli


AJAY RANA | Issue Dated: January 1, 1970, New Delhi
Tags : All India Football Federation | Mahesh Gawli | Climax Lawrence | General Secretary of the AIFF Kushal Das | Sayed Rahim Nabi | Raja Gaekwad | L Fernandez | Sunil Chchetri | Asian Cup | AFC Chalenge League in Nepal | Baichung Bhutia | I League | Dubai |

The All India Football Federation on Tuesday bid farewell to two of its veteran players – Mahesh Gawli and Climax Lawrence – in a felicitation ceremony at a hotel in Delhi's Dwarka. The two were presented with a jersey signed by the present members of the team and a silver plaque.

The ceremony was presided over by General Secretary of the AIFF Kushal Das. Most of the players who are now playing for the team were present at the ceremony to see their team mates off. The stars included Sayed Rahim Nabi, Raja Gaekwad, L Fernandez and Sunil Chchetri.

Quite interestingly, there did not seem to be and effusion of emotion. Both payers said that it had been an absolute honour to be playing with the National Team. However, both seemed quite satisfied and expressed no regrets on leaving the pitch. Both chose the qualification for the Asian Cup after 24 years as the high point of their careers.

The players were asked to comment on the AIFF rules which bars Indian professionals from playing in the Premier League. Both said that while playing in the highest stage would be a dream come true for them, they did not have any resentment towards the administration for having missed out.

When asked if three players retiring within the span of one year (Baichung Bhutia is the third one), if the team would feel their absence on the field in the upcoming AFC Chalenge League in Nepal, Lawrence said that there would not be a huge difference. While agreeing that the league would be a very tough tournament, he said that the youngsters should be able to handle it.

The players were further grilled on the AIFF's policy of allowing each team to have three foreign players on the team, the players voided controversy and said it would probably be the best for the game in the country. Das mentioned that the I League Committee had put a lot of thought into the structure of the tournament and would do what was in the best interests of the sport.

The retiring players ended by wishing luck to the National Team which leaves for Dubai on Wednesday night for preparation for the tournament in Nepal. They are scheduled to return on March 3 and then leave for Nepal the next day.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017