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When perseverance pays...

D.C. Antony Noel of Pondicherry won the Chennai Football Association's `Footballer of the Year' award. A profile



D. C. Antony Noel receiving the `Footballer of the Year' award from W. I. Davaram, vice-president, SDAT. Also seen is C. R. Visswanathan, president, CFA.

FOR D.C. Antony Noel, the Chennai Football Association's `Footballer of the Year' award came as a pleasant surprise. "I never expected this but I am happy about it," says the unassuming player from Pondicherry, who has been with the Indian Bank Club team for four years as a professional player. Normally it is rare for a defender — he plays as a stopper back — to get noticed, but this 21-year-old man proved that consistency and perseverance pay. Noel had earlier won the `Best Defender' award for his show in the Champions Trophy Tournament and that was an inspiration.

He came to the Indian Bank side courtesy his brother D.C. Nathaniel, another regular in the team and has never looked back. "We took him as a raw player and moulded him into a key man in defence," says a pleased D.V. Sundar, team manager about his ward.

Known for his disciplined approach and assured work, Noel, in all humility, believes the award must have come to him for the regularity with which he had turned out for the Bank side, be it for the local CFA league or for the national league. Indian Bank is the only team from South to be in the cash-rich NFL. A good player sometimes remains invisible on the field but his efficiency underscores the overall good work of the side. Noel would prefer to be considered that way.

A diploma holder in civil engineering, Noel is now studying AMIE by correspondence. He hails from a family of footballers. His three brothers are football players and his father, Christy Thangaiyan, has the distinction of winning three awards in Pondicherry — best footballer, best coach and best referee. A worthy son of a worthy father!

S.R. SURYANARAYAN

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