Bhubaneswar: The Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar was packed to the rafters as India were crowned champions of the Hero Intercontinental Cup 2023.
The blue tigers overcame Lebanon, securing a 2-0 victory with goals from skipper Sunil Chhetri and Lallianzuala Chhangte . Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik handed the coveted trophy to the champions in front of a jubilant crowd.
On this grand occasion, Patnaik announced Rs 1 crore for the Champions Team India.
The honourable dignitaries in attendance felicitated every member of the Indian and Lebanese contingent with gold and silver medals respectively. At the closing ceremony, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated the champions.
“It is a matter of great pride for our state to host this prestigious Intercontinental Cup. Congratulations to India on their victory in the face of stiff competition. It is our intention to hold many more football events in Odisha and support the growth of the sport in Odisha and India,” said the Chief Minister.
The excitement and anticipation for the final match was palpable in the days leading up to the conclusion of the four-nation football tournament and the final night did not disappoint. A sea of fans cheered on both teams, creating a true sporting festival. The spectators were as enthusiastic as they had been during the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup, and their enthusiasm increased when the Blue Tigers faced Lebanon for the final match.
Dignitaries including Sports & Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera, 5T Secretary VK Pandian, Sports department Commissioner-cum-Secretary Vineel Krishna, AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, AIFF Secretary General Shaji Prabhakaran and Football Association of Odisha Secretary Ashirbad Behera were present on the occasion.