Guwahati: Northeast Futsal League (NEFL) is all set to kick-off from Sunday at the Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium, at the Sarusajai Sports Complex in Guwahati.
The NEFL is India’s first major mixed-gender futsal league, which will feature six teams in total, will be played over a period of seven days till August 31.
The teams are Assam Titans, Meghalaya Thunders, Nagaland Super 5, Apunba Manipur, Arunachal Highlanders and Mizo Falcons. Assam will play against Nagaland on the inaugural match.
“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,” said Ranajit Mahanta of Proclivity sports and Recreation Pvt Ltd, the organiser.
The matches will be played in the 2×15 minute halves-format with each team changing their ends once the half-time rolls. The champion team will receive Rs 5 lakh and the cash award for the runners-up team is Rs 2.5 lakh.
Foreign players are allotted to all the teams through draws. Accordingly Assam Titans have Paula Rubio Fernandez and Carlos Antonio (Spain), Meghalaya Thunders have Ariana Martos Romero (Spain) and Francis Onyeama (Nigeria), Nagaland Super 5 have Patricia Ballesteros Bermero and Alex Rubio Carretero (Spain), Apunba Manipur has Joana Garcia Duran (Spain) and Henry Opara (Nigeria), Arunachal Highlanders has Paula Boza Gil (Spain) and Mario Navarro Penalver (Spain), Mizo Falcons has Jessica Pastor Carreno (Spain) and Michael Okwudili (Nigeria).
Sayantan Chowdhury who played in UEFA Futsal Championship for Nottingham is leading Assam Titans. Chowdhury, who originally hails from Assam is excited to be a part of the NEFL.
“I am looking forward to this tournament. I have played all-male tournaments, but this is for the first time a mixed-gender. It’s really about bridging the social gap. So, I am really excited to see how it impacts the society,” Sayantan told The Bridge.
Alobo Naga (Nagaland) and Equilibrium (Goa) will perform in the opening ceremony. Tickets priced at Rs 100 are available on playnlive.com and at gates.
“The first of its kind tournament in Northeast India is being organised with an aim to provide a platform for the budding footballers of the region to showcase their talent and also to rub shoulder with players from other parts of the world,” says Warren Noronha, marketing manager of NEFL.