I League 2017: Mohun Bagan and East Bengal U-13 players celebrate together after derby clash
What's the story?
The AIFF Under-13 Youth League is a grassroots programme that was introduced to help find talented footballers at a young age. The same clubs which participate in the Hero I-League also have their youth teams participate in the league. This gives the younger players exposure to playing in a league and to witness the competitive side of football.
Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are fierce rivals and the derby games between the two clubs are said to be the biggest fixtures in Indian football.
In the youth league derby that took place last week, East Bengal emerged victorious as they won 2-1.
In case you didn't know...
Clubs from both I-League and ISL take part in the youth league. The league is organised at three tiers, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 18.
The heart of the matter
Although East Bengal FC won the game, players from both sides came together and celebrated the occasion. This was very surprising given the rivalry between the two clubs. Mohun Bagan players did not hesitate and joined in the celebrations.
The kids ate cake together and there was no hostility between the players. This gesture from the players was a thoughtful one, there aren't many rival clubs who celebrate together that too immediately after a derby.
East Bengal's win versus Mohun Bagan FC was their first win in the Under-13 Youth League. EB sit in fifth place with four points from five games while Mohun Bagan are in second position with 10 points from six games.
It often happens that rivalries turn ugly and this gesture by the youth teams is something that the senior teams can learn from. Mohun Bagan players respected their opponents even after losing, displaying fine sportsmanship.