IMPHAL, Feb 19: Football lovers of the state were deprived of the genuine thrill of international class football game and felt taken for a ride by the `Goodwill Football Match’ played between Manipur XI and a group of Japanese tourist-FC Kickers at the Khuman Lampak, Main Stadium today.
The state team prevailed upon the visiting Japanese team 4-1 at the end of the lack-lustre match.
L.Gouro Singh struck a brace (15th and 20th minute), Kh.Naoton ((10th minute) and H.Chakravorti (45 minute) fetch one goal each for the home team while Satoshi Tagawa managed a consolation for the tourist in the 34th minute through a penalty kick.
If taken into consideration the hype built around the match and the fact that the Japanese team comprised of mainly university level players and others employed by Japanese companies and who are based in the country; the football lovers’ ire and concern are very much appreciable. The Japanese team lacked the ‘Banzai Sting’ which saw them through the WW II.
In trying to promote tourism industry in the state, the brains behind the Japanese tourney- the Manipur Tourism Forum had altogether failed to satisfy the football lovers of the state.
Many football fans, who had forked out Rs 50 for the general stand and Rs 500 for the VIP enclosure, felt saddened that they have actually forked out money and wasted an entire evening to watch such a match.
Fans who thronged the Khuman Lampak main stadium complained that, they were there to witness some great footballing action between the state players and foreign players, however they have to be satisfied with a below the par match. They complained not about the tickets rates, but that they have been deprived of a good match of football.
The stadium which has a total capacity of approx. 25,000 seats was filled to the brim, with spectators thronging in thousands eager to watch their state players fight it out with a good foreign team.
Of course, the MTF had read out earlier that the main objective of the football match would be to tap and promote sports tourism and hospitality tourism sector.
Though the approach of the football match was to tap the tourism potential of the state, the All Manipur Football Association should not compromise with the interest of football in the state.
First and foremost, the All Manipur Football Association should not compromise with prescribed norm and regulations.
Though sometimes local adjustment can be made, AMFA must see to it that it doesn’t hurt the interest of the football lovers of the state in the long run.
It must manage to get hold of video footage of any team that wants to come and play with the state team before compiling the Manipur XI.