Red carpet rolled out for State players
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 27: People of Manipur gave a rousing welcome to the players and officials of the State team which participated in the 60th Air India Express Santosh trophy football Tournament, 2006 held at Kochi, Kerala on their arrival at Imphal today.

Manipur Students’ Federation (MSF) hosted a public reception function in honour of the players and officials at Khuman Lampak main Stadium which was attended by a large number of people belonging to all walks of life.

Team manager L Dinamani, team coach E Ekendra and 10 players, namely Benjamin Kamson, N Uttam, Narakanta, Ingobi, Jimmy, Lungmilien Khongsai, Manimohan, Beni Chiru, Bisheshwor and David Kamson returned to Imphal today.

Seven other players who are playing for various clubs outside the State, however, could not attend the reception function.

They are James, Sukumar, Tomba, Dharamjit, Manitombi, Rajesh, Shyamananda, Samson and Sushilkumar.

Immediately after they landed at Imphal, the team officials and the players were garlanded and accorded a warm welcome by the people.

Later they were escorted from Chingmeirong Khongnang Ani Karak till the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium to the accompaniment of drum beats.

As soon as the officials and the players entered the main stadium, the band of ex-Cannibal belted out the song ‘We shall over come’ touching the heart-strings of all those who were present at the occasion.

Manipur Olympic Association president E Binoykumar, MSF president S Sanjoy Singh and All Manipur Football Association president A Santoshkumar graced the reception function as chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.

Team coach E Ekendra, recounted how Manipur exited from the tournament following the wrong call of the centre referee Shaji Kurien during the quarter final match played with Goa adding it was a miscarriage of justice.

Ekendra also objected to showing red card to Sushilkumar within 15 minutes of the match besides booking yellow cards to three other players during the same match.

On the move being made by AIFF to taken up disciplinary action against four players of the Manipur team, Ekendra informed that no official letter in this connection has been received by the team manager nor by the team coach.

Team manager L Dinamani told the gathering that the match commissioner had observed there was some mistakes on the parts of the players during the match when he have gone to lodge a complaint.

Nevertheless, he pointed out the rules and accordingly lodged the complaint.

In his address as guest of honour of the function, AMFA president A Santoshkumar said it was not a defeat for the Manipur team and gave his salutation to all the team officials and players who present during the reception function.

AMFA would continue to groom and produce better footballers, he said, adding that a long term policy would be made so that Manipuri footballers could not been subdued by anybody within the next 10 years.

Chief guest of the function, Manipur Olympic Assn president E Binoykumar observed that India is still at a lower position in the FIFA ranking and it is Manipuri footballers who could only improve the ranking.

Since the majority of the players in the Indian team are Manipuri, AMFA should lodged complaint and write to the AIFF for taking up action against the referee, he said.

In his presidential address, MSF president S Sanjoy contended that India has been suppressing Manipur not only in the field of sports, but also in other areas from the very beginning.

To protest the biased decision of the referee, MSF had organised not only sit-in-protest demonstration, but had also imposed a 22-hour general strike on the day the final match of the Santosh trophy was played, he said.

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