Not many of us are aware that an Indian football tournament other the Indian Super League is going on in the month of December. Participated in by teams only from the North-East and cheered by football-crazy fans from the eight states, the North-East Tamchon Football tournament is a pure spectacle.
The matches, aimed to promote peace, friendship, and unity among the youth of the country, are being played at the Ambedkar Stadium in the national capital. If you do give it a visit on matchday, you are in for some serious confusion over whether you are in New Delhi or somewhere in the North-East.
The spectacular football tournament, which receives mass support from fans turning up with club banners and facepaint on matchday, is organised by the Tangkhul Naga Society Delhi (TNSD). A total of 16 teams, divided in groups of four, are participating in the ninth edition of the North-East Tamchon Football Tournament this year.
The inaugural match of the tournament was played this year on Tuesday, 1 December, between champions Hmar FC and Wung United FC. Daniel Hmar remained the only scorer of the night in Hmar's 1-0 win over Wung.
Hmar retained their North East Tamchon Football Trophy after a spectacular win in the final last year against SSPP FC. The game was locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time, but the penalty shoot-out turned out in favour of the champions, as they recorded a 7-6 victory to pocket a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.
"From next year, we want a formal organisation of this tournament. We want the organisers to concentrate on organising the event and not worry about money," said Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju during the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening.
The list of teams participating this year:
Pool A: Hmar FC, Wung United FC, Barhungkha FC, Sikkim Gambos FC.
Pool B: SSPP, Chiru REM FC, ASUD-TODO FC, Zelianrong FC.
Pool C: Hornbill FC, Garo FC, KSL, Muvanlai.
Pool D: Senapati FC, Chandel FC, MISAD and United Rhino FC.
Length of the tournament: 1 December - 12 December, 2015.
Quarter final: 7 December, 8 December.
Semi final: 10 December.
Third place playoffs, Final: 12 December.
Venue: Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi.
TV guide: DD Sports will telecast the Opening match [already done], the semi-final, and the final of the tournament.