KANGPOKPI, Dec 4 : The second edition of the Kuki Football Academy Open Night Football Tournament, 2018 at D Phaihel village in Kangpokpi District ended with an impressive note yesterday evening at KFA Playground, D Phaihel emphasizing on three core issues such as saving Mt Koubru, youths from drug abuse and promoting peace and harmony in the state.
Water Resources and YAS Minister, Letpao Haokip graced the closing ceremony as chief guest while Thongminlen Haokip, social worker and N Rajendro, former president ICHAM attended as functional president and guest of honour respectively apart from Lhingneikim Kipgen, ZEO Kangpokpi and Dr Jamlal, as special guest.
The imposing and trendy final match under the bright LED bulbs in a pleasant cold winter night between Koubru Sporting and Hengbung Football Club was witnessed by thousand fans of both teams impressing the dignitaries and setting the mood of the both teams in exhibiting impressive performance during the game.
After inspection of players, photo session and declaration of final match by the YAS Minister, Koubru Sporting and Hengbung Football Club played out a 1-1 draw in the regular time rendering the champions to be decided via tie break.
Kisan Jenish of Koubru Sporting broke the silence with his superb volley in the 27th minute of the first half to give his team the lead till Lunginthang of Hengbung FC found the equalizer in the 52nd minute.
Koubru Sporting then defeated Hengbung by 9-7 goals (aggregate) on penalties to lift the 2nd Edition of Kuki Football Academy Open Night Football Tournament and added the first major feather in its cap since its inception in 2017 with a motive to spread awareness on protection and preservation of Mt. Koubru. The team received the Champions Trophy with medal and a cash prize of Rs 70,000 and dedicated their triumphs to the people of Manipur drawing attention in protection and preservation of Mt Koubru.
The runner up, Hengbung FC received a trophy with medal and a cash prize of Rs. 30,000 with its promising striker Lunginthang receiving the Hattrick and Man of the Tournament individual award. D Phaihel Youth Club and Ebenezer FC bagged the Hosts Club and Best Team award respectively while Paotinsei Khongsai of Gelnal Youth Club, Paolenlal of Milui FC, Seiminthang of Damdei FC, Lenboi of Haipi Youth Athletic, Sadson of Chollha FC bagged the Best Coach, Top Scorer, Best Striker, Best Defender and Best Midfielder awards respectively.
Seikhothang Kipgen of Kholjang was awarded with KFA Best Fan’s of the year, 2018 award while Bombom of Koubru Sporting and his teammate Kisan bagged the Best Goalkeeper and Hero of the Match award respectively.
Addressing the crowds, Water Resources and YAS Minister, Letpao Haokip appreciated the organizing committee for the wonderful tournament and the huge fans for their enthusiastic spirit which make the tournament more promising and remarkable. The Minister said that establishment of such an innovative and advanced Football Academy especially in the hill district is a record which will remain forever in the history of the Kuki community and the state as a whole. He also lauded the founder and his sub-ordinate staff for laying such an advanced platform in the field of sports for the youths of Manipur.
Considering the threatening impact of drug abuse among the youth of Manipur particularly among the tribal populace, the Sports Minister urged the Kuki Football Academy to carry forward the academy with a slogan to save youths from drug abuse and attempt to bring them back into the mainstream through games and sports.
Stressing on the importance of games and sports in keeping the youths and more particularly the student community, the Minister Letpao Haokip also announced that the cabinet had approved to introduce games and sports as compulsory curriculum activities from the next academic session which a student must compulsorily take at least one games and sports discipline.
The Kuki Football Academy while expressing gratitude to all those who supported and helped the academy and organising the open night football tourney, conveyed its thankfulness to PHED Minister Losi Dikho for his enthusiastic night visits during the league round of the tournament boosting the spirit of the tourney.
The KFA also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through N Rajendro for ‘Artificial Turf Ground’ at Kuki Football Academy playground at D Phaihel while in a memorandum submitted to YAS Minister, Letpao Haokip, KFA requested construction of ‘gallery’ which the Minister assured to materialized during his tenure.
Kuki Football Academy, founded in December 3, 2017 has waded through austerities and pitfalls while financial and infrastructure being one of its greatest challenges for conducting non-residential coaching for U-15 since 2017, Night Football Open Tournament from 2017 and its aim to recruit 30 students of U-10 which is a way forward to achieve higher status, said Thangminlen Kipgen, an outgoing president of KFA.
A musical night attended by various prominent singers from various communities marked the grand finale of the 2nd KFA Open Night Football Tournament.