As India is geared up to host its first-ever mixed-gender futsal league, the Northeast Futsal League (NEFL) is set to kick-off tomorrow at the NC Bordoloi Indoor Stadium in Guwahati, Assam. The fever of futsal has already gained unstoppable momentum in the state. Assam Titans will look forward to locking horns with Nagaland Super 5 in the opening match of the seven-day tournament. The other four teams who will be a part of the league are Meghalaya Thunders, Mizo Falcons, Apunba Manipur, and Arunachal Highlanders.
Each of the six teams will consist of eight players in the squad with one coach or player and one manager, with only one female player in the pitch during the play. A minimum of three female players and five male players including two international players (one female and one male) will be a part of each squad. As futsal fans across the country wait with baited breaths to catch the game live in action, it remains to be seen who steals the final show tomorrow when Assam takes on Nagaland Super 5.
With a minimum of two female players on each team, both Assam and Nagaland will look to spearhead the challenges that come their way. The players include Inonito Zhimomi, Apeto K. Sema, Newto Sema, Nyithong Magh, Khiuwangbo Haurintah, Akhala Samir, Nyitsarho Nyusou on the Assam front, while the Nagaland squad will include two goalkeepers (one substitute), Sayantan Chowdhury and Saurabh Sharma, Mallika Mandal, Ritwik Pathak, Aklanta Basumatary, Manoj Chhetri, Armaan Singha, Emzamul Hussain, Sonmoni Baruah, and Kading Mize. While the Assam side will be captained by Sayantan Chowdhury, Apeto K. Sema will be the cynosure of all eyes as he leads the Nagaland Super 5 squad. While a match can commence with only three players in a squad, a match may commence with one female and two male players. The matches will be played in the 2×15 minute halves-format with each team changing their ends once the half-time rolls.
Aimed at prioritising the sporting landscape for athletes to choose Futsal as a sporting career alternative, the NEFL will be the first major sports league involving all eight Northeast states of India. The league promises to cultivate a fresh crop of unsung heroes, bringing Indian and international players together.