With a prize pool of Rs 22,85,000, all eight Northeastern states will compete at the week-long football extravaganza in Kohima

Kohima: After a gap of 10 years, Nagaland is once again all set to host the North East Dr T Ao Trophy at the state’s only astro turf football pitch at Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima, under the theme ‘Together we can soar’. The week-long football tournament will begin with the inaugural ceremony at 9 am on January 20 and will be graced by RN Ravi, governor of Nagaland and Meghalaya.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Abu Metha, adviser to the chief minister and secretary general of NDPP, said that this is the second time the state is hosting the mega football event, the first being in November 2009 which was held in Dimapur.

Abu Metha (second from left), adviser to Nagaland chief minister, and other state officials addressing a press conference at Hotel Vivor in Kohima on Saturday

The North East Dr T Ao Trophy, which is one of the biggest football event in the region, is organised in memory of a legendary Indian footballer Dr Talimeren Ao. Metha said that the tournament is named after him for the simple reason that his achievements, career, reputation, and that Ao’s exploits should inspire every generation of the sportsperson across the country.

Metha informed that all technical aspects of the tournament will be conducted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and that all guidelines are as per the AIFF. While all the eight North Eastern states has confirmed their participation, few states have already arrived by Saturday. Further, the eight teams are equally divided into two groups and will be competing in a league match system.

Metha also said that the stadium is now equipped with telecast quality floodlights, making it the second stadium in the state to be equipped with such facility. Lockers for the players are also upgraded to international standards. He added that the stadium is now equipped to host football matches of national and international standard.

Real time updates about the tournament will also be available at www.drtaotrophy.nagaland.gov.in and will be managed by the Department of Information Technology & Community.

With a prize pool of Rs 22,85,000, the winning team will receive Rs 10,00,000 with trophy and certificates. The runner up team will receive Rs 6,00,000, while the third and fourth positions will receive Rs 2,00,000 and Rs 1,00,000, respectively. The fair play winner will also receive a cash amount of Rs 50,000. Other individual prizes include: player of the tournament — Rs 25,000; best goalkeeper, best defender, best midfielder, best forward, and the man of the final with Rs 10,000 each.

The manager and coach of the winning team will each receive Rs 15,000, and the runner up team manager and coach will get Rs 10,000 each. All participating teams, besides the four winning teams, will also be rewarded with a cash amount of Rs 50,000 each.

The maiden football event will conclude on January 28, the birth anniversary of Dr T Ao, and will be graced by the chief minister Neiphiu Rio. Bus services will also be provided on payment from High School junction to IG stadium on all days.

Meanwhile, director youth resources & sports, Akumla Chuba, also added saying that the district level Dr T Ao Trophy which was revived last year will become an annual event.

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