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State Football League: NFA’s solution to affliction in football

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 16: For a very long time, senior-level football in Nagaland has been a graveyard of talent ~ with no caretaker around to manicure the gifted feet and escort them through perilous terrain.
Young talents, after excelling at the junior level, have tended to lose their way in the absence of care and guidance at the next tier of football in Nagaland. The few that survive and claw their way out often do so on their own grit and volition.
Thankfully, the old regime is no more and there have been some recent attempts at demolishing the metaphorical graveyard and transforming it into something kinder and supportive to young talents.
One of such endeavour is the Nagaland Football Association’s (NFA) proposal to introduce a football league in the State.
On Monday, the Vice President of NFA Kiyeka S Sumi told Journalists that the Association had indeed set up a Drafting Committee, whose members were tasked with coming up with a detailed plan for the State Football League.
The latest status is that they have submitted their proposal to the State Government. “Very fortunately, our Chief Minister has been very encouraging, so we are expecting good news very soon. But unless pen is put to paper, we cannot reveal anything as of now. But the Drafting Committee has already submitted the report and has been forwarded”, he shared.
Conveying the current NFA’s understanding, Kiyeka said that knock-out tournaments ~ which are a dime a dozen in Nagaland ~ won’t improve the local players.
“It is the league format that will bring out the best in the players. So we are expecting the State League to come up very soon. And in that case, we will be able to address all the issues of senior football in our State”, he said.
According to the VP, the proposed football league in the State cannot be named Nagaland Premier League. The problem, he said, was that there has been a Nagaland Premier League that functioned for two years (2012 and 2013) in the State.
“But the MoU was signed with the private agency for 5 years. Now that 5-year agreement was not completed”, he said, adding that they cannot use the Nagaland Premier League title “because there is an MoU on that particular nomenclature”.
“But we have been talking with the Government and slowly positive things are coming. And our CM is very positive about the State League”, he repeated.
Also, Kiyeka shared that since taking office, the new team of NFA has been trying to “streamline everything” with the All India Football Federation (AIFF). “The only thing we get (for now) is a grant-in-aid from the Youth Resources and Sports Department”, he said.
While the NFA’s immediate focus has been on promotion of futsal and grooming players for the Santosh Trophy, he said that they were also “trying to fall in line with the other tournaments” under AIFF, including women’s competition.
“By this season, we will try to bring in another tournament where the winner will go to the national championships. But we cannot say anything more as of now”, he said.
The VP also reminded that Subroto Cup comes under the watch and care of the State’s Youth Resources and Sports Department.
On the age fraud detected at this year’s Subroto Cup, including those players representing Nagaland’s U-14 team, he said: “The (NFA) President is in touch with the Department. We would not like to comment much apart from the fact that it wasn’t our lookout and we are trying to chip in so that such thing doesn’t happen in the future”.
(Page News Service)