Goa's "Churchill brothers" emerged as the undisputed leaders of the ONGC I-league, being crowned champions after thrashing Bengal's Mohammedan Sporting by a tennis score of 6-2 .
A wait of 12 long agonising years during which Churchill saw the title within their sniffing distance a couple of times but slipping away in the final hurdle was finally ended when Churchill brothers stamped their name on the trophy after vanquishing the challenge posed by Mohammedan sporting in the most convincing manner.
The winners were richer with a prize purse of Rs 50 lakh while Mohun Bagan had to be content with the runners-up prize of Rs 27 lakh. However more than the prize money was the sense of pride which was visible in the Churchill brothers camp which was absolutely in delirium with the spectacular win and the eventual claim for the coveted trophy.
One had to be either a die hard Mohun Bagan supporter or someone with the most jealous heart to deny Churchill the topmost honour in Indian football, this time around in 2009. And one good look at all the Churchill brothers supporters who came with flags, banners, drums , trumpets and whistles and chanting the victory slogans had absolutely no doubt in their mind about the supremacy of their favourite Goan club.
However all other doubting thomases were also silenced in the first seven minutes of the match when Churchill pleasantly surprised everyone including themselves with the scoring of two goals in quick succession.
The action began in the fifth minute when R Vashun ran like as if he was possessed and created panic inside the Mohammedan sporting defence and while Wasim Feroze tried to hastily clear the ball, he only ended up shooting the ball into his own goal (1-0 Churchill).
Three minutes later, the Sporting citadel shook again. This time goal machine Odafe Okolie got a better of a defender and picked the top corner of the nets with a curl which demonstrated the exceptional talent of the Nigerian ( 2-0 Churchill ).
Churchill went into the breather with a 2-0 lead. Just when the title looked to be a formality, Mohammedan sporting came back with Mike Okoro leaping high to nod one home leaving a sense of tension and anxiety in the Churchill camp.(2-1 Churchill)
However history was tired of denying the Churchill brothers their much needed title and the alarm bells lasted for only 10 minutes before Felix exchanged a delightful pass with Odafe, avoided onrushing goalkeeper Manas Barua and found the roof of the net for his 12th goal of the competition (3-1 Churchill)
What followed next was absolute celebration time as Churchill willfully found the net another three times through Khan Thang Paite, Odafe Okolie and Thokchom Naoba singh slamming the final nail into the rivals coffin. Mohammedan Sporting's Jothi Kumar, managed to reduce the margin in the last minute for the Bengal Side.
Coach Zoran Djordevic of Churchill was a very delighted man at the end of the match and was seen rejoicing with flags and banners as the match ended. He was also critical of dirty tricks played by jealous rival clubs to deny Churchill the much deserved victory.
With the win, Churchill brothers has finally emerged as the top club of India and it is a big fillip to Goan football and a pride for Goa. However Churchill have now to ensure that they find more talented Goan players to join their ranks and ensure that the Goan club does not resemble a club from Nigeria or the Indian North east.