Kohima: Football has always been a beloved sport in Nagaland, but it is only recently that the sport has been gradually growing, says top football coach Roko Angami.
Addressing the football players at the opening ceremony of the 1st Open L Viluo Futsal tournament in Meriema, former international football player and president of the Nagaland Football Coaches Association (NFCA) Roko Angami said that with the gradual growth of the sport over the years, Naga football players are improved and well disciplined.
He recalls growing up with his widowed mother from an early age, saying that he reached international football through sheer hard work, determination and with the blessings of the Almighty.
The top football coach advised the young players to respect their sporting talents, to be eager to learn and also to believe in their own abilities.
He said: “Times have now changed and younger players are privileged to be guided by coaches, senior players and benefactors to support and promote the sport.”
He also encouraged the players to stay consistent, make sacrifices in pursuit of their goals, and be both enthusiastic and passionate about the sport. He added that football has helped him build a huge network and given him an identity.
More than just a game where you have to kick the ball and run around, he said the game involves the whole body and so players should have self-control and make the best of themselves by living a healthy lifestyle.
As L Viluo’s FIFA turf is the first futsal astro turf pitch in the Northern Angami-II region, he praised the family’s contribution to promoting the sport. He encouraged the players to build team spirit and good relationships with fellow players through sport.
While explaining the history of futsal, he handed over a copy of the futsal law to L Viluo’s family. Now that indoor football is recognized by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the All India Football Federation (AIFF), he hoped to witness Naga players at the national and international level very soon.
Furthermore, he urged the players to win people’s hearts through the sport and protect sports facilities, both private and public, as their own.
Owner Viluo Angami said the tournament will witness some of the best football players in the state as a total of 31 teams compete for the championship trophy. The three-day 7-a-side tournament will conclude on June 30.
The winner of the tournament will receive a cash prize of Rs 70,000 while the second team will receive Rs 30,000 and the semi-finalist teams will receive Rs 10,000 each. An amount of Rs 5,000 will also be awarded to the best goalkeeper and highest scorer.
The inaugural program was chaired by Thejasetuo Dzüvichü, while the invocation was pronounced by CRMC, youth pastor, Zhaviu Pienyü and Viluo Angami delivered the welcome speech.
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