Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu on Monday felicitated members of the girls’ football team that played the finals of the Hero Sub-Junior Girls’ National Championship 2019-20 recently at Cuttack in Odisha and emerged runners-up.
The team, which created history by reaching the finals of the coveted tournament, however, lost to Jharkhand in the summit clash.
Congratulating the girls and the officials of Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), Khandu said the entire state was proud of them.
He urged them to maintain their ‘passion’ and not to rest upon their laurels.
“Do not stop playing. Keep your passion for the game intact. Hone your skills and aim for the sky. This is just the beginning,” he advised.
Khandu said football is a game of the masses and youths of the state are passionate about it and assured the government’s support for its uplift.
The chief minister said in recent years the youths of Arunachal Pradesh have shown exemplary skills in various fields of games and sports, which have been proved by scores of medals won by them.
“Though being a late starter in the arena due to lack of infrastructure and expertise, Arunachal Pradesh has achieved a lot in a short span of time in this sector,” he said.
Khandu attributed the recent surge in sporting events and its impact on youths on the Khelo India programme, a brain-child of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He further pointed that with Kiren Rijiju, who hails from the state, as the new union minister for youth affairs & sports, Arunachal can expect a visible facelift in sports infrastructure and sports events in the state.
For the stupendous performance of the motley crew of girls hailing from different districts of the state, the chief minister lauded the unstinted support and dedication of the present office bearers of the APFA headed by its president Kipa Ajay.
While advising the APFA team to continue its good work, he said the government is ready to cooperate and support their endeavours.
The sub-junior girls’ team of Arunachal had a splendid run in the tournament, making history by becoming the first girls’ team from the state to make it to the final of the championship.
Till the final, the girls had an unbeaten run, with Tallo Ana scoring 15 goals in five matches. Ana remained the highest scorer of the tournament.
The state’s sub-junior boys’ team had also reached the final of the Hero Sub-junior National Football Championship in December last year.