Guwahati, Sept. 19: Stepping into its 61st year, Bharat Ratna Lokapriya Bordoloi Trophy Tournament will be without an Assam police team for the first time when it kicks off at Nehru Stadium here on Friday.
“This will be the first time that none of the state police teams like Assam Police (Dergaon), Assam Police Blues, City Police, Assam Special Reserve Force (Diphu), 9 Assam Police Battalion (Nagaon), will be participating,” said Guwahati Sports Association general secretary Ibocha Singh today.
Paramilitary outfit Assam Rifles (Tezpur) and Nagaland Police will be the only sides to be manned by the men in khakis. Releasing the fixture of the 12-team tournament, GSA president Rana Goswami said Assam Police Blues did not qualify because they finished at the bottom of the Guwahati Super League tally at the end of the first leg when the Bordoloi Trophy Tournament fixture was finalised. Only the top four Super League teams qualify for the tournament.
The Guwahati Super League outfits involved this time are NF Railway SC, Sunrise AC, Dynamo Club and Assam State Electricity Board SC while relegated team Gauhati Town Club was invited by virtue of being the runners-up of the season opener N.N. Bhattacharyya invitation tournament, said GSA football secretary Sajal Sengupta.
ASEB SC, who finished sixth in the Super League, was invited after fourth team Navajyoti Club and fifth team Food Corporation of India SC expressed their inability to participate in the tournament.
Shillong clubs Royal Wahingdoh FC, Langsning SC and Rangdajied United FC and Oil India FC of Duliajan are the other teams in the tournament. Though North Imphal Sports Association (Manipur) were invited, they are participating in the Manipur State League while Shillong Lajong FC, United Sikkim and Aizawl FC are participating in the ongoing Federation Cup.
Sunrise AC will meet ASEB in the inaugural match to be kicked off by former GSA general secretary and veteran sports organiser Chittaranjan Bhowmik at 2.30pm on Friday. The tournament will be held in a knockout format this time for time and financial constraints. “The tournament has clashed with the Federation Cup and the forthcoming I-League. So most of the leading national outfits are engaged. Therefore, we decided to make this year’s edition a northeastern affair,” Goswami said.