Sixteen teams representing all the districts of Nagaland is slated to compete in the upcoming Dr. T. Ao Inter- District Football Trophy to be hosted by Mokokchung District Football Association (MDFA) from April 18 to 29.
The fixture drawing event was held at Dr. Talimeren Ao Conference Hall, Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) office complex, here on Saturday.
Convenor of the organising committee for the event, Merentoshi R Jamir, who was also present at the event, said MDFA was ready to provide the players with the best possible facilities.
He said the trophy would be a uniting factor for the people as players from all over the State gather to participate in the event.
He disclosed that Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio and Minister for Agriculture and Cooperation, G Kaito Aye would be the guest for the valedictory and inaugural programmes respectively.
Highlighting about the schedule, Jamir said the inaugural would be held on April 18 however the matches would only begin from April 19 and would continue without break till the finale on April 29.
He said if any team would want to arrive early on to avoid travelling on Sunday, they could reach the location even by April 16 as necessary accommodations and fooding would be made ready by then.
He informed that since April 17 was Easter Sunday, the organisers had decided to observe it with any team who arrived early by organising a devotional programme. The organisers would be providing accommodation for 23 persons from each district including 20 players and three officials and additionally similar provisions would be made for the president and general secretary of DFAs of each district, Jamir informed.
Nagaland Football Association (NFA) president, K Neibou Sekhose, while chairing the event lauded MDFA for taking up the challenge to host the event which coincidentally happens to be the 50th anniversary of NFA and also the founding president, Dr T Ao, was also from the district.
He said the event was hosted mostly at Kohima and Dimapur however it needed to spread out even to other districts so as to promote and improve the game.
He observed that although there could be a slight change in the ground settings he urged the players to be adaptive and give their best performance even in such situations.
In the league round, matches will be for a total of 70 minutes while 90 minutes will be allotted from the knockout round.
A meeting for all the district team managers would be held on April 18 and therefore he requested the concerned officials to keep note of it.
On the issue of eligibility for players, he disclosed that any army or police personnel who was posted in a particular district would be eligible to represent that district. He clarified that the event was not a tribal tournament and therefore urged officials of every district to accommodate players from any tribe as long as they were indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.
On behalf of NFA, Sekhose urged all the teams which would be participating to have a sporting spirit, obey the laid down regulations and have an accomodative spirit even when any disputes arise. He later wished the best to all the participating teams.
The 16 teams were divided into groups of 4.
Group A: Phek, Dimapur, Chümoukedima, Wokha.
Group B: Mon, Niuland, Tuensang, Kiphire.
Group C: Peren, Noklak, Shamator, Longleng.
Group D: Kohima, Mokokchung, Zunheboto, Tseminyu.