Debutant Sechü-Zubza lift 25th Classic Cup
Kohima, Nov. 23 (EMN): Debutant Sechü-Zubza FC lifted the 25th Classic Cup after defeating Puliebadze Club Jotsoma 5-3 in a penalty shootout after the match ended in a 1-1 draw at Khuochiezie local ground in Kohima on Saturday, November 23.
A blunder from captain Tsoneru Odyuo, the goalkeeper of Puliebadze gave Sechü-Zubza FC the lead through the boots of Medoneituo Sekhose in the 54th minute. However, Puliebadze Club restored parity quicky as Ngachonhor slotted home the much-needed goal in the 60th minute.
After extra-time of 15 minutes, Sechü-Zubza overcame Puliebadze Club in the penalty shoot-out to walk away as champions of the silver jubilee edition.
Playing the final match in front of a capacity crowd, Menonikho Nakhro hit the crossbar early in the 6th minute while the team’s first free-kick taken by Ngachonhor landed straight into the safe hands of Medophrezo Kezieo, the opponent’s goalkeeper in the 14th minute.
Till then, Sechü-Zubza attackers kept Tsoneru Odyuo busy in picking up the ball within the box and catching easy shots that were directed towards the goal. Sechü-Zubza couldn’t convert any goal from their two free-kicks during the first half.
Coming back after the breather, Sechü-Zubza broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when goalkeeper Tsoneru Odyuo dropped the ball back into the net when Medoneituo Sekhose floated in a crossing ball which caused Puliebadze Club dearly.
Minutes later, Puliebadze Club‘s Ngachonhor and Lamgulun tried their luck to get back into the game but both missed their targets. However, midfielder Ngachonhor’s solo effrort paid off in the 60th minute when he lobbed the ball into the net with a soft left-footer to make it 1-1.
The two spirited teams tussled much to create more chances but both sides couldn’t make any further decisive moves as the allotted stipulated time of 90 minutes ended with the equal score line.
The match proceeded to the extra-time of 15 minutes but neither side managed to make any breakthrough.
However, the match ultimately went in favour of Sechü-Zubza in the tie-breaker with a 5-3 win against Puliebadze Club.
Sechü-Zubza walked home with INR 3 lakh, a glittering trophy and citations while runners-up Puliebadze received INR 2 lakh with citations.
Semi-finalists Kohima Eagles and New Market XI fetched INR 50,000 each.
Visalie Mezhü of Sechü-Zubza received a motorbike after being adjudged as the player of the tournament.
The best goalkeeper was awarded to Medophrezo Kezieo (Sechü-Zubza); best defender Keduvikho Mekro (New Market XI); best midfielder Medoneituo Sekhose (Sechü-Zubza ); best forward Johnny Ritse (New Market XI); highest scorer Rhitsho Mero (Sechü-Zubza) with 12 goals. They all received a bicycle each.
New Market XI who participated in 24 editions of the tournament was awarded the most appearance team and received INR 25000 while the best discipline team was awarded to Kohima Bible College and received INR 10,000.
Best photo shoot award was bagged by Zhoveho Resü and received INR 10,000 while the most loveable player of the tournament was awarded to Kezhose Mathew of New Market and received INR 10,000. The referee of the tournament, Zavibeinyü Sano received INR 5000 while the best manager of the tournament, Neitsüzo Peseyie of Puliebadze Club received INR 5000. The best coach of the tournament was awarded to Visakholie Medoze of Sechü-Zubza and received INR 5000. Guest of honour Neiba Kronu, minster for planning and co-ordination and Namri Nchang, advisor of Water Resources distributed the prizes to the winners during the closing ceremony.
Earlier, attending the final match, Neiba Kronu congratulated Classic Club Kohima for succesfully organising the tournament for 25 years by upbringing the players to ‘a higher degree of perfection’. He also lauded the club for having performed their yeoman service towards the society. He asked the club members to continue their good deeds towards the state.
To the players, the minister reminded of the good qualities of a sportsperson and emphasised on the importance of discipline, sportsmanship spirit, fooding habits etc. “Unless you struggle, you can’t come to a higher level”, Kronu said.
Kronu stated that through Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is also the president of Nagaland Olympic Association, the PDA government is trying its best to encourage the youngsters in sports. “Now, we have to catch up with the rest of the states,” he added.