TODAY -

SAFF U-16 Indian captain looks forward to peace
Source: The Sangai Express

Kangpokpi, September 14 2023: When Ngamgouhou Mate from the strife-torn Manipur's Tengnoupal district returned home, his parents had to welcome him in a relief camp in Kangpokpi district as his home in Khongsai Veng, Imphal had been already burnt down in the initial stage of the violent crisis.

Ngamgouhou Mate was the captain of the Indian football team which clinched the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) under 16 championship at Thimphu recently, The young Indian captain, despite "no home to stay" is looking forward to peace in Manipur.

Three young talented footballers from the Kuki community, namely, Ngamgouhou Mate (15), son of Jamkholal Mate of Pallel (Tengnoupal district), Vumlenlal Hangshing (15), son of Kamkhomang Hangshing of Lhungtin village in Saikul, Kangpokpi district, and Levis Jangminlun Haokip (15), son of Ngamminthang Haokip from Churachandpur district participated in the 8th edition of the SAFF U-16 championship at Thimphu in Bhutan.

There were 11 Meitei boys and one Meitei Pangal lad in the same 23-member Indian team and the team clinched the defending champion title for the fifth time.

Kuki Students Organization, Sadar Hills under the aegis of Kuki Students' Organization, General Headquarters organized a reception ceremony for the Blue Colts captain and the other two players from the Kuki community at KSO Sadar Hills administrative office building today at 3 pm in the presence of the Kuki Inpi Manipur.

However, Levis Jangminlun Haokip could not manage to attend the reception ceremony.

Vumlenlal Hangshing, the left-back player, said, "It is like a nightmare for me and my team but we are extremely proud of our coach and the staff who guided us throughout the championship and provided us with good training" .

"We, the players, are from different communities including the two warring communities from Manipur but our ethnic diversity was our driving force to clinch the prestigious title", Vumlenlal Hangshing said.

"We (the Meitei and Kukis) have no issue with the violence.

We stayed together, ate together, and slept together.

We are very much friendly and even joked together.

Only football can make this possible", he added.

He also said, "Lifting together the Champion trophy with our friend from the Meitei community will also pave way towards peace in Manipur" .

Ngamgouhou Mate and Vumlenlal Hangshing also thanked the former Indian footballer Renedy Singh from the Meitei community for believing in them and providing the opportunity to participate in the trial/selection.

The duo, both players of Imphal-based Classic Football Academy, also conveyed that it was the concern and faith of Renedy Singh that they had the opportunity to contribute to Indian football by bringing fame and laurels to the country.

Ngamgouhou Mate thanked the Almighty God for helping the Indian team clinch the prestigious title in the form of giving all his teammates good health, wisdom to the coach and staff, good coordination among the players and coach and staff, etc.

Mate, who is not willing to talk much about the violence in Manipur said, "It saddened us all that our State Manipur has been gripped by violence but I personally look forward to peace in the State" .

KSO Sadar Hills General Secretary, Thangtinlen Haokip said they were deeply pained on seeing that the Indian captain has no home but staying in a relief camp with his parents.

He then urged the authority concerned, the Centre and the State Government to look into the grievances of the Indian captain.

The Blue Colts captain has five siblings (three elder sisters, one younger brother and one younger sister) .


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