Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday kicked-off the Under-17 Boys and Girls State Level Subroto Mukherjee Cup Football Tournament at the general ground, Bhalukpong in West Kameng district.
The tournament is being participated by at least 50 teams of boys and girls from across the state and will conclude on October 1.
The Chief Minister, hailing the theme of the tournament ‘Say yes to life and no to drugs’, reiterated that every tournament should spread the message against the drug menace.
“Our youths should be dissuaded from falling into the grip of substance abuse and we can do that by encouraging them to involve in tournaments like this,” he noted.
Assuring that the state government is committed to create and provide infrastructure and platforms for budding sportspersons of the state, Khandu said general grounds in the district headquarters are being upgraded and equipped with proper facilities.
He said several stadiums have come up in recent years – while some are complete, few are nearing completion.
“India is fast emerging as a leading nation in the sports arena as we have witnessed from the performances of our athletes in the last Olympics and recently held Commonwealth Games. We must in fact express gratitude to the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving the much needed emphasis on the sports sector,” he said.
Khandu cited the Khelo India program of the central government that aims to nurture and offer a platform to sportspersons of all age groups.
The Chief Minister, who also happens to be the president of Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), informed that the APFA has chalked out a roadmap to promote football and scout young talents in the coming years.
Acknowledging the fast-growing popularity of futsal amongst the youngsters, Khandu informed that APFA will organize a Futsal Championship in October next to constitute a state team to participate in national-level tournaments.
“We will also be holding the state level football tournaments – Indrajit Namchoom Arunachal League from January next year; the Dera Natung Trophy Championship in October-November this year at Tezu; and the oldest tournament of the state, Tadar Tang State Level Football Tournament in December at Ziro,” he informed.
Also present in the inaugural ceremony were Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Mama Natung, Education Minister Taba Tedir, local legislator Kumsi Sidisow and Education Commissioner Padmini Singla, among others.
The inaugural match was played between West Kameng and Namsai. At the end-whistle the hosts had the better of the visitors to start the tournament on a positive note, a communique from the CMO said.