Kohima: Phek district lifted the 20th Inter-District Football Championship (also known as Dr T Ao Trophy) after defeating Kohima 2-1 in the final match played at the newly installed astro-turf pitch in Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima on Saturday.
Once an annual feature, the 2019 edition of Dr T Ao Trophy was held four years after it was last played in 2014.
Participating in the programme as special guest, N Bongkhao Konyak, advisor, department of underdeveloped area (DUDA), said, “Sports has the power to inspire and change the world as it 'speaks to the youth in a language they understand'". Konyak further urged the players “to follow the great legacy of our legendary player Dr T Ao and excel in the area we can”.
Speaking to EastMojo about the experience of playing in the astro-turf pitch, Keneinguze Pienyü from the Kohima district team, expressed how fortunate he was to play in the pitch and is sure that future is “in good hands now”.
Although Kohima couldn’t claim the trophy, the optimistic player admitted that the team gave its best. There has to be an ultimate winner, so “the best one won”, he added. "I believe good things are coming and the players will improve drastically," he added.
Colo Mero, an organiser of the tournament, said thousands of spectators came to witness both the game and the ground. Mero, who is also the president of FAPD, said, “We are very excited that our boys played on this pitch and are the champions of the 2019 edition.”
While the winners walked away with Rs 3 lakh along with citations, the runner-up team received Rs 2 lakh with citations. The winners in the individual category were Imtikumsuk(Tuensang) (best goalkeeper); Kevizhapu Lhoungu (Kohima) (best defender); Vekruto Resu (Phek)- (best midfielder); Punuru Nienu (Phek) best forward; Kezhose Khizho (Kohima) and Suponglemba (mokochung) (highest scorer with five goals each). The award for the 'player of the tournament' went to Kekhrieletuo Tsira of Kohima.
Altogether 50 selected players from all 11 districts will undergo a trial for the upcoming Santosh Trophy and Under-21 Dr T Ao Trophy.