Namsai : The official launch of Indrajit Namchoom Arunachal League, earlier called Arunachal Super League, was announced by Arunachal Pradesh deputy chief minister Chowna Mein. The tourney will be held in Namsai district from January 26.
Accompanied by MLA Chau Zingnu Namchoom and members of Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), led by its honorary secretary Kipa Ajay, Mein on Wednesday inspected the football ground in Namsai.
The deputy chief minister expressed happiness and said that it was for the first time the state is going to host the coveted football league, which would be organised by the APFA in memory of legendary footballer and former India captain Indrajit Namchoom.
He added that Namchoom played many international matches for the country, an official communiqué said on Thursday.
“Althhough it has been late to recognise a man of such great stature, the initiative of APFA to honour Namchoom is praiseworthy and commendable and has come at the right time,” Mein said.
He added that Namchoom was a highly valuable footballer with an imposing physical presence, leadership qualities and aerial abilities and showed why football received such a prestigious tag in the Northeast.
“Many youngsters of today’s generation may not know of Namchoom. He is known as the ‘pathfinder in sports’ and considered the first sporting hero of Arunachal Pradesh in the truest sense,” Mein sai, adding that Namchoom was very popular in Assam and the first Arunachalee to represent India in an international football tournament in 1964 and perhaps the first one from Arunachal Pradesh to represent India in any international event.
According to the APFA, the Indrajit Namchoom Arunachal League would feature six teams, the matches of which would be held at Sangay Lhaden Sports Academy Ground at Chimpu near the state capital and the final round would start from February 1.
The top clubs from the first edition of ASL 2017 would automatically qualify for the league whose format would be on league cum knockout and one spot would be from the qualifying round.
Ajay said the matches would be played four days a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Earlier, Mein with members of APFA visited the places where legendary Namchoom had spent his childhood and met the relatives to inform them about the football tournament to be organised in the state in his memory.
Mein also inspected the construction of a mini indoor stadium at Chongkham and directed the officers to complete the work on time.
Among others, DC Bijoy Talukdar, SP Ankit Kumar Singh, APFA state coordinator Orin Lego, APFA executive member Arun Tamut and officers from various departments were also present on the occasion, the communiqué added.
Namchoom took interest in several indoor and outdoor games. However, he excelled in football representing India in Youth Asian Soccer Tournament held at Saigon, Vietnam in 1964 besides, Santosh Trophy in 1959. He started his career as a circle officer and retired as secretary legislative assembly from 1989 to 1994. His political innings started in 1999 when he got elected from Chowkham constituency and was appointed chairman of Public Accounts Committee. Later, he became a cabinet minister in the Gegong Apang cabinet.