The 11th Edition of the Gospel Youth Soccer organised by the youth organisation of Town Baptist Church Tamenglong began on Tuesday at the Mini Stadium, Tamenglong District Headquarters.
The opening ceremony of 11th Gospel Youth Soccer, organised under the theme, “The spirit comes alive” was attended by Nungba Sub-Divisional officer Namlalung Gangmei as chief host, Tousem Sub-Divisional officer Paul Nangsha and MP Nominee Akinsin Gangmei as chief guest and guest honour respectively.
In his chief guest speech, Paul Nangsha said that sports is about embracing and encouraging active physical lifestyles.
He said coming together as Christian with church members as one family is celebrating Christian life.
He emphasised the need to keep up sports spirit and spread the message of the aims and objectives of the gospel youth soccer.
"Let us learn to be obedient and be disciplined in whatever we do and try to do good for ourselves and for society. And through sports we can also glorify God,” he said, adding that “some people print good words on their T-shirts and spread the message”.
The opening ceremony was witnessed by beautiful choreography, oath taking ceremony, flag hoisting of Gospel Youth Soccer and gospel tips from Town Baptist Church associate pastor Rathaipou Riamei, who is also advisor of Gospel Youth Soccer.
As many as 44 teams have registered to participate in the Gospel Youth Soccer which aims to spread the gospel message through sports. The tournament will continue till 27 October.
Just after the opening ceremony, the opening match was played between Kahulong Baptist Church and Chiuluan Baptist Church which are considered the strongest teams among the 44 teams.
In his welcoming speech Gospel Youth Soccer chairman Lunepou Gangmei urged all teams to play with God's glory. He also all extended his best wishes and appreciation to all teams and donors too.
He also urged players to fulfil the aims and objectives of the gospel youth soccer.
In his speech, Namlalung Gangmei said God created youth with beauty, health and strength. While you are in good health, spread the gospel through playing, he said and called on the participants to play with love and care in a peaceful manner.
Akinsin Gangmei called for a drug-free zone in Tamenglong stating that “if you decide to stop using drugs, be a man to stand against it and let the gospel youth soccer help those users to stop it completely”.
Rathai Riamei urged all the team members to accomplish the mission, a mission of Christian till one meets the last breath. He also requested all team members to play with peace and let the gospel soccer be glorified by God.
In the meantime, speaking to Imphal Free Press, Gospel Youth Soccer chairman Lunepou Gangmei said that the Organisation undertook the task of organizing the Tournament with the clear intention of bringing the light of gospel into the arena of sports through this event.
He said the Gospel Youth Organisation taking up such an activity is guided by the Christian principles of Discipline, Evangelism and Glorification.
The tournament also aims to help to achieve excellence in sports in the district and to promote peace and unity among the people to develop the youths spiritually and physically.