Kohima: The final countdown to the 21st edition of the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) Martyrs’ Memorial Trophy begins as Mhakenyi Kro-u FC and Head Hunters Jakhama, the top two contending teams out of 52, vie for the ultimate championship to be held at IG stadium on Saturday at 5 PM.
Organized by the Angami Students’ Union (ASU), the apex student body of the Angami Naga tribe, the month-long soccer tournament began on October 9.
Mhakenyi Kro-u FC advanced to the finals after defeating Berenike FC by 4-1 goals in the semi finals. Head Hunters Jakhama booked their spot to contend in the finals after the team defeated FIFA FC (2-1) in the semi finals.
The two teams will compete for the trophy on Saturday, where the winner will walk away with a cash prize of Rs 2,00,000 and the runner-up with an amount of Rs 1,20,000.
Team Mhakenyi Kro-u FC has a list of professional footballers, including I-League 2nd division players like Samuel, Immanuel, and Lalminlum.
The organizers said the Head Hunters Jakhama is a team of security forces from the 164 Inf Bn (Territorial Army).
The tournament is held under the theme “Goal for Peace”. The closing ceremony will be graced by Tongpang Ozukum, minister PWD (housing and mechanical).
“The memorial trophy is organised in honour and in remembrance of the two comrades Lt. Kekuojalie Sachü of Kohima Village and Lt. Vikhozo Yhoshü of Kigwema Village, who were victims to the indiscriminate firings of the Armed Police from Alichen, when the students’ fraternity, on the 20th of March 1986, were on a peaceful duty call to the extension of Disturbed Area Belt from 5 KM along the Indo Myanmar Border and against the induction of Indian Police Service (IPS) cadres into the state of Nagaland,” the organizers had earlier informed.
For the first time, the tournament is played at the astro turf pitch at IG stadium. The annual tournament was called off in 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also for the first time that night matches have been introduced for the trophy. “It is one of the first of its kind for the NSF Trophy as we introduced the night matches this year. It is to improve the standard of the tournament and give a platform to the players in our state for a night exposure in the turf, as an experience,” Thomas Khawakhrie, ASU Games and sports secretary told EastMojo.
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