Football teams start arriving for North East Dr. T Ao Trophy
Kohima, Jan. 18. (EMN): All roads will lead to the Indira Gandhi (IG) Stadium in Kohima on Monday as the much-awaited North East Dr. T Ao Trophy, one of the biggest football events in the region, kicks off on the day. Football teams from the north-eastern states have already started arriving in the state for the sporting extravaganza.
The organising committee announced at a press conference at Hotel Vivor in Kohima on January 18 that six teams will be arriving in the state on Saturday and the rest, two, are expected to arrive in the state capital town on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, an update from the DPRO for Dimapur has informed that football teams from Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Assam arrived in Nagaland on January 18 morning, at around 5 am and that the other teams are expected to arrive soon.
All the eight north-eastern states have confirmed their participation in the tournament, held in memory of the legendary footballer, Dr. T Ao from January 20 to the 28th.
Ao captained the first Indian Olympic football team that played against Burma and France at the 1948 London Olympics. His witty remark on why the Indian team played barefooted — “Well, you see, we play football in India, whereas you play BOOTBALL!” — will go down in the annals of history.
The adviser to the chief minister and a member of the organising committee, Abu Metha, stated that this is the second time the state of Nagaland would be hosting the tournament, 10 years after it was first played in Dimapur in 2009.
“Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima is now equipped to host any international football events,” Metha said about the facility that an astro-turf, floodlight and locker for players.
A committee headed by the chief secretary of Nagaland and comprising various other departments, is said to be working round the clock to ensure the tournament is conducted successfully.
The trophy is organised by the government of Nagaland in collaboration with Nagaland Football Association and supported by the government of India. A total prize money of INR 22, 85, 000 has being set for the trophy, where the champions will take home INR 10, 00,000 and the runners-up, INR 6, 00,000.
The organising committee has informed that the All India Football Association is supporting the event in all the technical aspects to ensure smooth conduct of, perhaps the biggest football event in the region. A website and social handles have also being created to give real time updates of the event to the public.
Details of opening and closing ceremony
The opening ceremony of the event will start at 9 am on (Monday) January 20 at IG Stadium. The governor of Nagaland and Meghalaya, RN Ravi, will attend the event as the chief guest.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio will attend the closing ceremony as special guest on January 28, which is also the 101 birth anniversary of Ao, on whose memory the tournament is being organised.
The organising committee has informed that the state government will provide free transportation to the public from High School junction till IG Stadium during the course of the tournament.
Matches on Monday
1st match: Nagaland vs Arunachal Pradesh at 10:30 am
2nd match: Manipur vs Tripura at 4:00 pm