The week-long sports event by the Western Sumi Sports Association (WSSA) kicked off on January 24 and will continue till January 29. The event also included an educational visit to Atoqa tea factory, Nikhekhu, Nagaland, on January 27, which was one of the various educative activities planned.

Participating teams from 11 areas under Western Sumi region comprising 179 villages visited the tea factory. The visit was hosted and organized by Ato Area Sports Association and Nikhekhu village council in collaboration with Atoqa Tea Factory management.

In the welcome address, Tokato Yepthomi, incharge of ground operations, thanked WSSA president Vikuto Zhimo, officials, and teams for the educational tour to the tea production unit and stressed that for the growth of any society, being educated and increased awareness, networking, acceptance, and learning from each other with humility were the key ingredients.

Simon Philips Jyrwah, commercial manager of the factory, introduced various stages of the tea making process. He said the factory was short of fresh tea leaves and encouraged entrepreneurs to take up tea plantations, as the factory was an assured market of the raw materials. At present, 600 acres of plantation covering 11 villages with 160 small tea growers are engaged in the tea belt. He said it was still not adequate to feed the 5 lakh CTC made tea capacity licence of Atoqa Tea Factory.

Besides, WSSA officials, under the leadership of president Vikuto Zhimo, interacted with Bhaichung Bhutia, Indian football legend, Padma Shri, and Arjuna awardee, who is also the brand ambassador of Northeast Brews, Nagaland’s premium tea brand, and Renedy Singh, coach of East Bengal football team and formal Indian football captain.

As requested by the WSSA, Bhutia and Singh graciously agreed to become advisors to the association and suggested the officials to focus on the Under-14 category team of the WSSA to move up the ladder to reach national and international level. The two football legends also assured support to identified talents for trials in Indian football clubs.

Bhaichung further agreed to conduct and train basic short programed coaches under the WSSA, to guide players in cluster targeted villages, preferable players under WSSA with some past experience.

He further encouraged the WSSA officials that his club Sikkim United will play with WSSA 11 football team very soon to encourage and motivate the grassroots Naga players under Niuland, Dimapur, and Chumukedima districts.

Atoqa Tea Factory management, as part of their corporate social responsibility, would be facilitating the events and encouraging sports in the region.

Also read: Nagaland: Entrepreneurs Associates start ‘reverse urbanization’ campaign

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