Advisor of Power, Tovihoto Ayemi said football has brought brotherhood and unity among the people of the sister states of North Eastern region. “Football was the world’s most popular game, and that the sport had brought people together from all over the world, regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity, to inspire and unite everyone”, he added.
He was speaking at a “match for a cause” (friendly football match) between United Sikkim FC and Western Sumi Sports Association (WSSA) XI at DDSC Stadium, here on Friday.
The special guest maintained that sustainable development not only needed good political governance, but also needed platforms to bring people together for a common goal. “Training young boys and girls to be professional players will impact the society in multi-dimensional ways” Ayemi noted.
He congratulated WSSA for organizing the friendly match, adding that it would define the task the association was going to undertake with support from Baichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh, for development of football at the grass-root level in Nagaland.
Ayemi also extended appreciation to the two former captains of India for having concern for Nagaland and coming forward to render valuable support to train budding talents of the state.
He was hopeful that the joint effort would definitely produce footballers such as late Dr. T. Ao, the legendary Naga football player, and also the likes of Baichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh and many others who have made the region and the nation proud through this sport.
Founder & chair, YouthNet, Hekani Jakhalu Kense in her opening remarks dwelt on the objectives of the exhibition match, adding that it was to create corpus fund which would identify and train 11 football coaches. The coaches will then organize U-14 teams in targeted cluster villages, followed by sponsoring trials to various professional FC of the talented players.
She further stated that the initiative was to nurture young talents especially in villages and rural areas which would provide platform to grow professionally.
Earlier, invocation was offered by executive secretary, WSBAK, Rev Dr.Phughoto Sema and vote of thanks offered by vice president WSSA, Mughapu.
Highlights of the inaugural programme included folk dance by Pihekhu Area, Aghunaqa area, and theme song by NK Naga. Special performances from Alobo Naga, N K Naga, Kekhrie Ringa, Dreamz Unlimited, English Maker, etc. were the highlights of the second session.
USFC Vs WSSA XI friendly ends in stalemate
Meanwhile, the friendly match between United Sikkim FC featuring former captain of Indian national football team, Bhaichung Bhutia and former captain of Indian national football team, Renedy Singh and WSSA XI ended in 2-2 draw. For United Sikkim, Bhaichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh scored a goal each, while Pitoshe and Mughapu were the goal scorer for WSSA XI. The match was organized in solidarity and support of grassroots football in the state.
A penalty shootout was also organized in aid of Bhaichung Bhutia Project Corpus Fund between Wing Commander S Akheto Jakhalu as team captain and Bhaichung Bhutia’s team, where an amount of Rs 50,000 was contributed by the members.