Shillong, May 1:Umsning SC beat Laitkor SC 2-1 in a thrilling opening match of the Assam Rifles CAPF Under-19 Football Talent Hunt Tournament for Meghalaya in front of the Honourable Governor of Assam and Meghalaya, BanwarilalPurohit, Director General of Assam Rifles, Lt Gen ShokinChauhanAVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, hundreds of school children and other football fans.
A highly engaging beginning to the tournament saw one of Meghalaya’s star woman footballers PynhunShullet put Umsning into the lead in the 14th minute in the Group A girls’ match. The ball was chipped forward into the box and the opposition goalkeeper could not collect it, allowing Shullet to latch on and blast it into the net.
Just before half time (the match was played over 60 minutes) Laitkor levelled proceedings with a nice run of determined play from their girls. A cross from the right flank was met by an Umsning defender, but was not cleared from the box. Laitkor spotted the chance and one of their girls made a good tackle, stole the ball away and passed it to WadashishaMarwein, who guided it past Umsning goalkeeper BanrishaWahlang.
The action was intense in the second half as well, but it looked like the first match would turn out to be a draw until Shulletblazed a trail through the defenders in the 59th minute and easily placed the ball into the back of the net for the winner.
Earlier, the grand opening ceremony was graced by the Honourable Governor as chief guest.
In his welcome address Lt Gen Chauhan thanked the Governor for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend the programme and described the latter as “a football lover, sports enthusiast and educationalist.”
The nationwide competition, dubbed ‘Oorja’, is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to promote football in the entire country ahead of the FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup, which will be hosted by India for the first time later this year.
“We aim to identify football talent and further popularise sports in the North East. This is phase one and phase two in June will see states playing against each other. We will select the best children from Meghalaya and I am sure that they will bring further laurels to this beautiful land of clouds,” Lt Gen Chauhan said.
In his speech Governor Purohit emphasised the importance of this tournament in the lead-up to the U-17 World Cup, “which will be one of the biggest sporting activities in the country.”
Later the Governor, Lt Gen Chauhan and the brand ambassadors of the tournament – Meghalaya’s elite sportspersons Binning Lyngkhoi, DolyneKharbhih and WansukMyrthong – greeted the players of all the 16 participating teams.
Tomorrow, the boys’ game between KV Happy Valley and Assam Rifles Public School, which was moved from today’s schedule, will be held at 9:30am, followed by Wahingdoh FC vsNongstoin District Sports Association at 11:00am. KV Laitkor and St Anthony’s Hr Sec School face off at 2:30pm and Rangdajied UFC and West Jaintia District Sports Association playing at 3:45pm. The only girls’ game, between Mawryngkneng SC and Umiuh SC, will take place at 1:00pm. All 5 matches will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Polo.