Manipur beat Meghalaya on inaugural day
Dimapur, June 14 (EMN): Manipur’s boys began their quest for Assam Rifles CAPF U-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament glory with a resounding 3-0 victory over hosts Meghalaya at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong, on Wednesday afternoon.
Today marked the inaugural day of the second phase of the nationwide tournament, dubbed Oorja, which is featuring six North East states – Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Nagaland – in girls’ and boys’ divisions. The best players from the state-wide tournaments held last month have been selected for this event. The six states will be vying for beautiful trophies that have been named in honour of a legendary North East footballer – the late Dr Talimeren Ao.
The other boys’ match, played between Arunachal and Mizoram in Pool B in the morning, ended in a goalless draw.
Before the start of the second game, a grand opening ceremony was held where Director General of Assam Rifles, Lt Gen Shokin Chauhan AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM was the chief guest. Brand ambassador for the second phase, Meghalaya star footballer Aiborlang Khongjee, was also present on the occasion.
Speaking as part of the formal inauguration, Lt Gen Chauhan said, “he was extremely happy to be back here again with you for Phase 2 of Oorja. I am honoured to be the chief guest of this fabulous tournament. The aim is to popularise football and develop talent in the North East. It is also a prelude to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which will be held in India in October 2017. I wish you all every success and good health.”
Manipur bagged the lead early on in the Pool A fixture with F Shah curling the ball into the net with a left-footed free-kick in only the third minute of the 70-minute match.
Meghalaya then almost earned a couple of goals, but Melvin Marbaniang wasted an easy opportunity in the 19th minute from close range and was denied what would have been a brilliant goal two minutes later when his free-kick struck the crossbar.
Soon after the second half began, Hemba Singh doubled the lead for Manipur with a sharp and cheeky back-heel shot that beat the opposition goalkeeper in the 40th minute and in the 64th his team mate Gopi Singh put the result in no doubt after pulling away from his marker to receive a neat forward pass and slotting it past the advancing Meghalaya custodian, Lajied Khyriem.
Today two girls’ matches will take place between Mizoram and Tripura in Pool B at 1:00PM followed by a Pool A encounter between Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh at 3:30PM. Both games will take place at the JN Stadium and entry for the entire tournament is free.