Guwahati, March 12: The Assam Football Association (AFA) today heaved a sigh of relief after the directorate of sports and youth welfare assured that the state will not go unrepresented in the 4th T. Ao Northeast football championship at Shillong from March 17 to 27. The directorate today confirmed that the initiative has been taken to send the state team for the tournament.
“We have not received any correspondence from the organising committee. However, we have received a communication in this regard from the AFA and the file has been moved on the basis of the same. We will take care of the coaching and other expenses we are supposed to incur,” an official in the directorate told The Telegraph today, but did not wish to be quoted.
This correspondent is in possession of the intimation, vide number DSYA/SPORTS-1/2004/63 dated January 22, 2013, from the Meghalaya directorate of sports and youth affairs to its Assam counterpart requesting confirmation of participation. The Assam directorate has, however, not received it, said the officials concerned. The AFA has been holding a coaching and conditioning camp involving 27 players from across the state at Nagaon since March 10. “We appreciate that the directorate is taking the initiative though very late. But, a team cannot be prepared overnight. So, we have taken the initiative of holding the conditioning camp in Nagaon,” said AFA secretary Ankur Dutta. He was, however, not very optimistic of a strong squad. “We don’t have players available from two major clubs, Oil India FC and Green Valley SC, due to their engagement with the ongoing PSPB meet and the second division I-League respectively. We are managing with the home players we have at our disposal,” Dutta said.
As a policy, only native players are allowed to represent a state in the T. Ao Trophy tournament, organised by the Sports Authority of India in association with the government of the host state.
The organising committee, sponsored by the North Eastern Council, has arranged for accommodation of the teams in different hotels in Shillong. SAI will bear the travel expenses of the teams to and fro Shillong.