YRS adviser Zale Neikha along with other officials, players and referees during the opening day of the 20th NSF Martyr’s Memorial Trophy Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: Nagaland adviser for youth resources and sports (YRS) Zale Neikha has impressed upon the need to revive the ‘Nagaland Premier League’ in order to enable “sports persons to be trained and become better players”.

Neikha was addressing the students’ community and football lovers at the inaugural session of the 20th Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) Martyrs’ Trophy at the Kohima Local Ground in Nagaland.

“To enable our sportspersons to be trained and become better players, we need to revive the Nagaland Premier League (NPL), which at one point of time had become very prominent,” Neikha said during the inaugural function.

A youth clad in Angami traditional attire gifting a tree sapling

The state’s top football division league which was founded in 2011 was formed with a vision to send local professional players/clubs to participate at national tournaments like the I-League, Federation Cup, and so on.

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Neikha said that the state government is “taking a keen interest in reviving and promoting Nagaland Premier League (NPL)”.

“The department concerned along with the stakeholders is working out the modalities for re-igniting this league soon. I personally feel that participation in these leagues will encourage our footballers to develop their techniques while exposing them to the bigger arena,” he added.

He also challenged “established business tycoons, contractors and other like-minded persons” to come together and establish football clubs like the neighbouring states, setting up own standard turf, practice pitches and providing scholarships to players.

Players in action during the match played between Centurion FC and Poimi Students’ Union Kohima during the 20th Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) Martyrs’ Trophy at the Kohima Local Ground

Annually hosted by the Angami Students’ Union (ASU), the month-long tournament began on Saturday. As reported by EastMojo earlier, tree saplings replaced the usually customised mementoes gifted to guests and well-wishers and several water dispensers were placed within the venue. Water was also served in bamboo cups. This new initiative was carried with the aim to discourage single-use plastics.

The first match of the NSF Martyrs’ Trophy 2019 was played between the defending champions, Centurion FC and Poimi Students’ Union Kohima where the Centurion won the match with a margin of five goals. Centurion FC won the match 5-0.

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