International footballer and a member of gold medal winning team at 2011 SAFF Games Samir S Naik today received the Dilip Sardessai Award for 2011-12. The award comprises a cash purse of Rs 2 lakh, a bronze plaque of legendary India cricketer late Dilip Sardessai and a certificate. Naik, a former India defender who plays for Dempo Sports Club, was felicitated on the occasion by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for his excellence at the international level.
Earlier winners of the award include footballers like Mahesh Gawli, Climax Lawrence (both of Dempo), international swimmer Talasha Prabhu and chess player Bhakti Kulkarni. Naik was selected from among four shortlisted candidates. The others being P Anand and C Lakra (both taekwondo) and Manguesh Kuttikar (Paralympics archery). Naik, who plays for Goa’s Dempo SC, retired from international football in May. He was part of Indian team at LG Cup in Vietnam (3rd place), Asian Games 2002, SAFF 2003 and 2011 and FIFA World Cup qualifiers 2004, 2007, 2011, among others events.
The defender started his football career in 1991-92 and joined Dempo in 1994. He was a member of the Goa team that won the Santosh Trophy in 2005 and had been a regular member of the state team. ”This is a great moment in my football career. I feel honoured and at the same time humble for getting the prestigious award,” stated Naik. ”I have been playing football for 20 years now and have come up the hard way. I always played with the goal of representing my country which I did with distinction and was part of the team which won gold at the SAFF championship last year,” he said.