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VPS Group hands over Rs 1 crore cash prize to Santosh Trophy-winning Kerala football team.
Filed on 2022-05-06 | Last updated on 2022-06-23 10:52:14

KOCHI: VPS Healthcareon Friday handed over Rs 1 crore to theKerala football teamwhich bagged the prestigiousSantosh Trophyat the final game held in Malappuram on May 2.
At an event organised here by VPS Healthcare, the cash prize of Rs 1 crore was handed over to the winners by the Group's India Head, Hafiz Ali Ullat and Corporate Communications and CSR Head Dr Rajeev Mangottil.
The event saw a reunion of the state's finest footballers, both old and new including former Santosh Trophy-winning captains –Kurikesh Mathew(1993),V Sivakumar(2001), Sylvester Ignatius (2004), Rahul Dev (2018) – and other legendary players like IM Vijayan, Jo Paul Ancheri, and Asif Saheer.
Vijayan, the former Indian team captain, asked the VPS Group to start an academy at the grassroots level.
"We are happy that Dr Shamsheer has honoured us veteran players and coaches. I don't think this has ever happened before. It makes me feel proud. I request the entrepreneur to start an academy at the grassroots level in Kerala," Vijayan said.
Anitha Sathyan, the wife of former Santosh Trophy-winning captain late V P Sathyan, and former football coaches T A Jaffer and M
Peethambaran were also present. The 1973 championship-winning captain late T K S Mani's family members, who couldn't attend the event, conveyed their wishes to the gathering.
UAE-based entrepreneur Shamsheer Vayalil, the Chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare, had on May 2 taken to Twitter and announced the prize money for the Kerala football team if they win the tournament.
Kerala football team captain Jijo Joseph, who spoke during the occasion, said the team had intense training sessions and thanked the head coach and other staff for their continuous support.
"I feel that a selfless interest in sports guides decisions like these, which will lead to the growth of sports in the country," Joseph said, thanking Vayalil for the surprise announcement before the final.
The players who scored goals for Kerala throughout the tournament were also honoured with a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.
Vayalil said acknowledging the contributions of the sportspersons would encourage them to achieve more.
"It is the collective responsibility of society to recognise their hard work. Victories are not made in a day. For all seven title-winning performances, the players put in a lot of effort. I believe this get-together will document those efforts and lay a strong foundation for the future of football in the state," Vayalil said.
Team head coach Bino George thanked the Group for giving the team an opportunity to share the stage with football legends.
"This prize money is a motivation, and I am sure more people will come into sports with this kind of support," George said.
The Group also honoured the former coaches and captains with mementoes and special gifts.
On Monday, during the finals of the Santosh Trophy, Kerala bounced back from a goal down to beat heavyweights Bengal 5-4 in the penalty shootout and won their seventh Santosh Trophy title at the Manjeri Payyanad Football Stadium.