Breaking the Barrier - Eastern Mirror
Monday, January 30, 2023

Breaking the Barrier

By The Editorial Team Updated: May 03, 2017 10:56 pm

It is not only a tournament victory for Aizawl FC. It is more than that. The victory is a slap on the face of those who always depicts a negative image of the North-East. It is a lesson for the media barons of the country, who refuse to publish any news from the region apart from insurgency and secession. It is a lesson for our sports bodies that given a chance, the North-Easterners can make India a true sporting nation.

It is very difficult to describe in words the achievement of Aizawl FC. The football club from Mizoram has not only proved that they are the best in India, but also at the same time showcased the talent available in this part of the country. Unlike other teams in the competition, the team from Mizoram did not have foreign recruits with exorbitant fees. Rather it was a team consisting of local boys. The victory has become more memorable as the local boys have proved that they are no inferior to the big names like Sony Norde or Durrel Duffy. By conquering them, the boys from Mizoram have sent a silent message to all concerned that if India wants to make her presence felt in international soccer arena, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) will have to look towards Northeast.

The path was not easy. From almost every quarter, every possible move had been made so that the team from North-East couldn’t do well in I-league. AIFF was hostile towards them. The old and traditional forces of Indian football never welcomed them in big league. Even efforts were made to keep them out of I-league as the team was relegated last time. It was being said that a relegated team should not in the competition notwithstanding the fact that many teams withdrew from the tournament citing various reasons.

It goes to the credit of Aizawl FC that despite all odds, the team was focussed and positive. The footballers realised that to silence the critics, they had to prove themselves. How focussed the team was can be judged from this fact that after defeating a century-old football club Mohan Bagan, it became almost certain that Aizawl would be the champion. In such a situation many football teams had been affected by complacency and had to pay a heavy price. But Aizawl FC didn’t allow complacency to affect their game and earned a hard fought draw against Shillong Lajong. That proves the commitment and dedication of the Aizawl footballers.

As North-Easterners we know that even after such magnificent achievement, the region will continue to be neglected by policy makers, sports organisers and others. So the job is not finished yet. To force those who neglect North-East to look at the region with respect, we will have to make winning a habit. After I-League, Aizawl FC will participate in Federation Cup. Hope, the footballers will show the same determination and courage in that tournament too. They should keep it in their minds that they are not playing for the club only. They are the warriors of North-East.

By The Editorial Team Updated: May 03, 2017 10:56:29 pm