Fertile ground for football

Print edition : June 09, 2017

Aizawl FC players celebrating after the club the Hero I-League championship by beating Shillong Lajong FC, in Shillong on April 30. It is the first football club from the north-eastern region to win the cup. Photo: PTI

July 31, 1948: Talimeren Ao (from Nagaland), captain of the India’s first national football team, and G. Robert, captain of the French team, at the start of the India-France match of the London Olympics. The Indians, who played barefoot, lost 2-1. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl, Mizoram. The I-|League match between Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan was played here on April 22.

Chennaiyin FC’s Jeje Lalpekhlua after he scored the first goal against FC Pune City at an Indian Super League match at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on November 15, 2016. Lalpekhlua, currently a top Indian striker, is from Mizoram. Photo: R. Ragu

Kamala Devi (from Manipur) in control of the ball in the 12th South Asian Games football final played in Shillong on February 15, 2016. Photo: M. Moorthy

Mumbai City FC’s Aiborlang Khongjee (white, airborne) in action in an ISL match in the Fatorda stadium in Margao, Goa, against FC Goa on November 16, 2016. Khongjee is from Meghalaya. Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar

Oinam Bembem Devi (in blue) from Manipur, who led the Indian team to victory in five international football tournaments, in action in a match against Bahrain. Photo: AIFF

The passion the people in the north-eastern States have for football has given this region an overarching identity as the powerhouse of Indian football and helped clubs running on shoestring budgets scale heights.
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