Manipur CM N Biren Singh (in circle) and his BSF football teammates being introduced to then President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy

Imphal: Twitterati on Monday morning woke up to a sweet throwback picture of Manipur chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh as a national football player along with his then Border Security Force (BSF) teammates.

In the photograph, CM Biren Singh along with his BSF team mates were being introduced to the then President of India Neelam Sanjiva Reddy during the Durand Cup football finals at Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

The photograph, which was taken in 1981, was first shared on the social media platform by a person named Shanjoy Ahanthem from Manipur.

Later, Union minister for sports Kiren Rijiji took to the micro-blogging site and wrote: “Shri Biren Singh, a national football player belonging to BSF team introduced to the President of India Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy during Durand Cup Final at Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi in 1981. BSF beat JCT 1-0. Now, he is the Chief Minister of Manipur @NBirenSingh.”

Within no time, the image of Singh as a young football player along with the then BSF team members went viral and lauded him by the Twitterati.

Remembering the golden days as a sportsperson, the chief minister also reposted the post and wrote on his official Twitter handle, “That was the time when as a sportsman, my objective was to bring laurel to the team. And, now as the CM, it is my objective to bring peace, progress & development to my lovely state with the blessing and guidance of @narendramodi and several other leaders of @BJP4India.”

According to sources, CM Singh was only 18 years old then when he joined BSF and played for the forces after the officials spotted him during a football match in Imphal. He was also the first football player from the state to have played outside Manipur.

Singh, according to the report, was also the first professional sportsperson in India to have joined politics and become a chief minister.

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