State to have 3 more artificial turf football grounds this year
Kohima, April 12 (EMN): Advisor for Youth Resources and Sports, Zale Neikha on Monday said that Nagaland would have three more football grounds with artificial grass completed this year.
He said this while addressing the opening ceremony of 21st Inter-district Football Championship 2021 (Dr. T Ao Trophy) at Indira Gandhi Stadium (IGS) in Kohima.
He stated that besides the two existing astro-turf football grounds at IGS Kohima and Peren, one each in Dimapur and Tuensang are being constructed under the state plan while the one in Mon is under Khelo India scheme.
The advisor said that the PDA government under the leadership of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was committed to promoting sports in the state and has decided to create one sports batallion under Nagaland Police. He added that it was a great opportunity for sportspersons, especially the upcoming young talented Naga youths.
‘We don’t devote enough’
Neikha observed that there were many good sportspersons in the state “but I have noticed that we don’t devote and dedicate ourselves fully in the field of sports”.
He lamented that “we consider sports as secondary and when there is any big tournament, then only we start practicing with full swing and start demanding for every little thing to be provided fully by the Government or Association etc.”
The advisor maintained that good sportspersons need full equipment ‘but it does not make us a winner’. He also asserted that to be a winner, one needs to improve skills, techniques and devote full time and dedication.
“Skills and techniques do not come from the turf ground and with full equipment, but it comes from your hard work and dedication,” stated the advisor.
In this regard, he cited the example of legendary footballer from the state — Dr. T Ao, the first Naga Olympian and a football genius — during whose sports career there was practically neither facilities or infrastructure available nor were there any association or government to help or mould him.
Neikha then stated that ‘today we can see that a good sportsperson is regarded highly in the state as well as in the country. You can earn your livelihood from the field of sports’. He urged the players to the take the opportunity of the scenario to earn and also bring laurels to the society, state and nation.
He told the players and participants to remove the stigma that ‘sports is nothing but something to pass time’ but instead be like Dr. T Ao and follow his footprints, whose hard work and commitment propelled him towards achieving excellence in the discipline of sports.
He urged the sportspersons to keep the memory of the legendary sportsperson alive by serving as an inspiration for the future generations.
Meanwhile, the commissioner and secretary of Youth Resources and Sports (YRS), Alun Hangsing, said in his keynote address that the championship event started in 1976 until it was rechristened in 2004 as Inter-District Football Championship, Dr. T Ao Trophy.
He said it was to honour Dr. T Ao and to inspire and motivate the youth of the State in general and the young footballers in particular to achieve the goals set by the legend.
The official maintained that the government of Nagaland has started a football academy in his (Dr. T Ao) name at Seithekema, Dimapur district to cater to all the aspiring football players and to produce more professional footballers from the state and the region, who can represent the state and the country at the international level.
He further stated that the incumbent government under the chief minister, advisor and the department of Youth Resources and Sports, along with the Nagaland Football Association (NFA) was giving all its efforts to raise the standard of football in the state by conducting football tournaments at different levels and categories, adding that the future of football in Nagaland was not bleak but a promising one.
Earlier in his welcome address, NFA president K Neibu Sekhose said that 12 districts, including the youngest district — Noklak — are vying for the title in this year’s edition.
He added that the champion would receive a cash prize of INR 3 lakh, while runners-up would receive INR 2 lakh and losing semi finalists would get INR 50,000 each.
- Phek vs Peren at 9 am
- Zunheboto vs Noklak at 11:10 am
- Dimapur vs Mon at 1:30 pm
- Kohima vs Mokochung at 3:30 pm