A mega football tournament, Len and Sang (LS) Football Trophy, 2022 with a Rs 2 lakh champion cash prize kicked off on Wednesday at Brig M Thomas Ground, Kangpokpi district headquarters.
Youth Affairs and Sports Minister, Govindas Konthoujam inaugurated the grand opening ceremony of the football tournament as Chief Guest while Textiles, Commerce, and Industry and Cooperation Minister Nemcha Kipgen and ex-ADC Sadar Hills Chairman, Haokholal Hangshing attended as Functional president and Guest of Honour respectively.
A blessing prayer and dedication of the tournament sub-committee members and other officials were performed by Rev Satmang Baite while various prominent artists from different communities of the state enthralled the huge audience during the entertainment session before the grand opening ceremony.
Kanglei Martial Tricks also displayed various martial skills at the event.
Konthoujam, while addressing the mammoth gathering, said that "Manipur is very rich in human resources. If we can explore it properly and the people's Chief Minister N Biren Singh is putting all efforts into the IT and sports sector for the younger generation".
The minister said that the government is trying to set up District Sports Complex in all the new Districts of the state including Kangpokpi. He said that in consultation with the local minister we will look into the matter of development of Brig M Thomas Ground while recalling that Brig M Thomas Ground is a historical playground.
He also said that to develop Brig M Thomas Ground into a standard ground size, he will apprise the chief minister to shift the old Tourist Guest House located inside the ground in another place so both can be properly developed.
While encouraging the people of Manipur from all communities to say "Bye Bye to Drugs" the YAS Minister urged the people to support the Chief Minister's "War on Drugs" campaign and rather turn toward sports for a healthier and longer life stating there is no future for any communities engulfed by drugs.
Textiles, Commerce, and Industry and Cooperation Minister Nemcha Kipgen said, "Our former President Ram Nath Kovind had rightly termed Manipur as the powerhouse of sports and we must maintain it".
She also said that through sports we can come closer and united which are the driving force for peace and harmony in the state.
The minister then appealed to the spokespersons of the state, and especially, participating players of the LS Football Trophy to maintain discipline and respect for their coach and officials.
Ex-ADC Sadar Hills chairman Haokholal Hangshing apprised the YAS minister and the local minister of shifting the Tourist Lodge situated inside Brig M Thomas Ground to another suitable place.
The opening match between FC Gorkha 11 Manipur and LS Academy was kicked off after the inspection of players by the guests and dignitaries.
The first half of the awe-inspiring opening match ended in a goalless draw as both sides failed to find the opener despite all their efforts.
However, FC Gorkha 11 Manipur came back with better form in the second half to find the opener and first goal of the tournament through Navin Rana in the 59th minute before Luv Budhatoki added another goal in the 63rd minute to edge past the L.S. Academy 2-0.
Tomorrow, Twilang Area Sporting Club (TASA) will play Haipi Youth Athletics in the first match while Saikotjang Youth Club will play Eimi Students' Fellowship, Maram in the second match and Ninou FC will clash against Anglaikoidi FC in the third match.
The tournament will also feature Kuki Sporting Club, KLASA, Symropia, UKB, and Sagolband United in the knockout round.
The LS Football Academy brand ambassador is Adaphro Sylvia, who is Mrs Asia Pacific Intercontinental 2019, Popular Queen of Universe 2019, State Icon Election Commission of India Manipur, Mahanager Global Achiever's Award 2019, SDP Women Achiever Award 2020, Excellent Award, the American University.