Sikkim is all set to host a national-level Christian football tournament for the first time in the State on the theme ‘Growing Together in Harmony’.
The eighth edition of this prestigious tournament will be held from September 27 to 29 at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok.
The tournament is being organized by Sikkim Sports Coalition in collaboration with John Paul Foundation and has been supported by all Christian churches of Sikkim, United Christian Welfare Society of Sikkim (UCWSS) and Sikkim Christian Sports Committee (SCSC).
An organizing committee has been formed having members from churches of different denominations to organize the tournament in a grand manner.
Addressing the press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the organizing committee coordinator, Tseten Nudu Lepcha mentioned that it was the matter of pride to host such prestigious national Christian football tournament for the first time in the State.
He informed that eleven states have already given their confirmation of participation and more were likely to join the tournament.
He mentioned that a national-level selection committee will spot talented and promising footballers from different participating states in the tournament for the national team.
“The selected players in the national team will represent the country in the upcoming prestigious Unity World Cup,” Lepcha said.
He expressed that this was a golden opportunity for local footballers to impress the selection committee to make their place in the national team to represent the country in the upcoming Unity World Cup.
The organizing committee general secretary, Lawrence Lepcha mentioned that the objective of the tournament was to equip the young generation with life values and good ethical thinking and also to promote healthy living through sports.
He added that the tournament has also focused to provide wider exposure to youths and to provide them bigger platform to showcase their skills and talent in the national and international levels.
He expressed that this tournament has been successful in creating awareness of getting involved in the society and builds positive mindset to endorse agape love among each other.
Lepcha mentioned that the tournament will also have series of activities for youths and children apart from football. He urged all football fans and sports enthusiasts to come and support the tournament and to motivate the State team with their huge presence during the tournament.
UCWSS general secretary, Pastor Peter Samsher mentioned that the UCWSS was an apex body of all churches of Sikkim and the organisation has came forward to support the tournament as it has focused to lead the youths on the productive and creative path through sports.
He mentioned that the UCWSS has been supporting all activities which have focused on the betterment of the youths and the society.
He stated that the tournament was also a good opportunity to showcase the rich and beautiful natural beauty of the State and great hospitality of the people of Sikkim.
Likewise, SCSC president, Pastor Bhupal Basnett mentioned that SCSC has been organising the state-level inter-church football tournament in the State since eight years.
He stated that as Agape Cup has vision to lead youths on the healthy path through sports so SCSC has came forward to support the event.
He expressed that this tournament will provide a larger platform for local youths to showcase their talent and game and to go upto the international level.
A selection committee headed by a national player and coach, Shisil Karthak has already been constituted to form Sikkim team for Agape Cup 2019.
The committee will conduct the selection trial in all four districts and shortlisted players in the State team will undergo through a rigorous training camp under experienced coaches for atleast a week at Gangtok.