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"Northeast must have a football league of its own," says MFA Vice President

Northeast must have a football league of its own, says MFA Vice President

Abdul Gani

Published: 24 Jun 2019 1:05 PM GMT
Mizoram has emerged to be a football powerhouse with a good number of players from the north-eastern state playing with different clubs across the country in Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League. Mizoram Football Association (MFA) vice president Lalsawma Pachuau, in an exclusive interview with The Bridge, said that a pan-northeast league would further strengthen the football scenario in the region. “I would want a football league featuring all the eight northeastern states, including Sikkim, especially when the future of I-League does look so strong. If the top clubs play each other in home and away matches, it would be great. It will not only develop the football scene but also help in improving the relationship among the states. The level of competition will improve, the quality of coaches will be improved and so as the referees,”
Pachuau told The Bridge. So far, as many as 20 players are playing in the ISL and 35 footballers are representing some of the top teams in the I-League. Mizoram has a very popular league within the state – Mizoram Premier League, featuring eight teams, including the I-League winner Aizawl FC. The state has a football academy of Tata Trust which helps in grooming the young players. It also has a FIFA project at work, through which they get artificial turfs from FIFA. Pachuau said that they are also starting an inter-branch local tournament so that more footballers come to play. On the growth of the game over the last several years in the state in spite of not having more number of proper grounds because of the hilly terrain, Pachuau said, "The presence of quality clubs in the state makes the association’s job easier in working at the grass root." On the development of women's football, Pachuau advocated conducting more girls' tournament in the region keeping in mind the Under-17 Women's World Cup in 2020. “We have plenty of talents in the girls’ football. And as India is the host to the Under-17 Women's World Cup, we must try to encourage more girls to come out and play,” he added.
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