The committee has three weeks to evaluate and recommend a candidate to the GFA's Executive Council for approval. Xinhua reports.
In a display of unity and talent, two young footballers from Manipur, Bharat Lairenjam and Levis Zangminlun, each scored a goal to secure India’s victory in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Under-16 Championship held in Thimphu, Bhutan, on Sunday.
Despite the ongoing conflict in Manipur, where ethnic tensions have led to violence between the Meitei people in the valley and the Kuki tribal community in the hills, these young athletes set aside the troubles of their home state and focused on their goal of winning the championship.
Bharat Lairenjam, hailing from Nambol in Bishnupur district, netted the first goal in the 8th minute, while Levis Zangminlun, a resident of Churachandpur, fired the second goal in the 74th minute during the final match against Bangladesh.
Of the 23 players in the Indian squad, 16 come from strife-torn Manipur, with 11 being Meiteis, four Kukis, and one Meitei Pangal (Manipuri Muslim). Despite their diverse backgrounds, these players exhibited strong team spirit, bonding over their shared passion for the game.
An excited Bharat expressed his happiness about scoring what he referred to as the “goal of the championship.” He emphasized the camaraderie among the players, stating, “Though players belong to different communities in the team, we mingle together happily in good team spirit.”
Lairikyengbam Jyotirmoy Roy, the general secretary of the All Manipur Football Association (AMFA), commended the Indian team’s outstanding performance and victory in the SAFF U-16 championship, highlighting that in the world of sports, ethnicity is secondary.
The young talents’ success on the football field serves as a beacon of hope and unity amid the ongoing ethnic tensions that have claimed 181 lives in Manipur since the outbreak of violence on May 3, 2023.