U-17 World Cup will be a game changer – Mama

Aizawl: To be labelled the ‘Godfather’ of football in a certain region would perhaps be something that would afford some a slightly lofty air. However, Shylo Malsawmtluanga, who is often called the ‘Godfather of Mizo footballers’ due to him being one of, if not the biggest name to emerge as a prominent professional footballer from the Northeast Indian state of Mizoram, is actually humble, taciturn and ever-smiling.

‘Mama’, as he is lovingly called, is therefore an inspiration to all footballers and football fans in his home state. After all, he is the first footballer from the region to don the Indian national team jersey.

Malsawmtluanga single-handedly gave hope to what was previously a dormant footballing state in the north-east of India but is now a powerhouse in the sport. Fellow footballers with their origins in Mizoram like Lalrindika Ralte and Jeje Lalpekhlua followed suit and went on to become stars at a national stage, but very few can match the adulation and respect Malsawmtluanga gets.

In fact, ‘Mama’ now has a stand named after him at the famous Assam Rifles Stadium in Aizwal, the venue of the latest Mission XI Million (MXIM) Festival as a part of the build up to the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

In a wide-ranging chat, Malsawmtluanga discussed the upcoming U-17 World Cup in his home nation and what the future holds for India in footballing terms.

Q: With Guwahati being one of the host cities for the FIFA U-17 World Cup, do you think it’ll help football grow in the other parts of north-east India too?
A: It’s a matter of great pride and honour that India is hosting a FIFA tournament later this year. I believe all of us should head to the stadiums to support the teams. Watching such world class players will enthuse kids here further. I believe the Northeast of our country is a hotbed for the sport. The tournament will ensure more and more people here take up football professionally.

Q: As a whole, how do you think the FIFA U-17 World Cup will help the game of football in India?
A: Without a doubt, it’ll be a game-changer. When I was growing up, not too many people dreamed of letting their kids take up a sport professionally. That has changed now and while I believe there’s still time before we become a global superpower in the sport, a youth tournament of this stature will definitely introduce a lot of people to the beautiful game and that should prove pivotal in the years to come.

Q: How can parents, schools and teachers help in making India a footballing giant in the coming years?
A: Let the kids play, that’s about it! Don’t force them to do things they don’t want to. If they want to go to the field every day, let them do that. There’s so much talent in our country, and teachers and parents will play a crucial role if we are to tap in to it.

Q: With a program like MXIM, the aim is to get children to take to football at a young age. What would be your advice to kids who want to play the game?
A: Mission XI Million is a wonderful initiative undertaken by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Government of India. To be honest I’m overwhelmed to see more that 7000 kids come and enjoy the game together. It makes me believe that it’ll help produce several quality players in the years to come. As for the kids, my only advice is to enjoy the game, take it one day at a time, listen to your heart and follow your passion. Trust me, if I can do it, you can too.

Q: A word about your relationship with Mizoram and being called the ‘Godfather of Mizo footballers’?
A: (Laughs) I am humbled by the love and adulation showered by all the Mizo people for me. The state has really established itself as a cradle for footballers in our country and I’m proud to have played a small part in it.

Q: What are your own future plans? Do you plan on getting into coaching?
A: Coaching would involve retiring! I’m not ready for that just yet.

Source: FIFA.com

East Bengal-Mohun Bagan Looking To Sign Mizoram Captain

Mizoram’s Santosh Trophy winning captain Zico Zoremsanga is centre of attention of both Kolkata giants in the summer transfer window. Sources are claming that both East Bengal & Mohun Bagan showed interest to sign this 22-year old Mizo striker.

Zico had a brilliant Santosh Trophy 2014 where he scored 5 goals for his state team, Zico played in Kolkata before in 2011-12 season with Southern Samity, he is currently playing for Mizoram Premier League club Dinthar FC.

Sources are allso claming that Mohun Bagan showed interest to sign Aizawl FC midfielder David Lalrinmuana who played a major role in Mizoram’s recent triumph in Santosh Trophy 2014.


On the surface it may seem just another victory. But Mizoram’s recent triumph in the recently concluded 68th Santosh Trophy is much more than that. The seeds for glory were sown long back and the Football mad State is just reaping the benefits at the moment.


“Mizoram Football Association is a great example of how a State Association should be run,” All India Football Federation General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das tells said “It just goes on to show that if a State Association,  embarks on a proper program including Youth Development and a League with the right intent, they can achieve glory,” he adds.


In 2013, apart from the Santosh Trophy glory, Mizoram also annexed the 48th BC Roy Trophy when they defeated Assam 6-1 in the Final in Ranchi.


“This should come as an eye-opener for all others. AIFF will always support Football’s cause in other States provided they show the same purpose and intent just as it has been supporting Mizoram FA. But he State Associations need to be proactive. They need to create and drive their own Programme in line with AIFF’s overall objectives,” Das further states.


“Very often, many a State Association complain of lack of funds. The same applies to Mizoram FA as well. But they have proved time and again that it has never come as an obstacle for the growth of the Sport in the State,” Das argues.


One needs to remember that the Mizoram Football Association won the 2013 AIFF Award for the Best Member Association, an Award which was instituted for the first time by AIFF. The Award was awarded to Mizoram FA for their involvement and eagerness to upgrade using help from AIFF in Grassroots and Coach Education.

The implementation of the AIFF Grassroots Pilot Project in Mizoram has been a success and the Project stays the role model for other States to implement future Grassroots Development initiatives.

Picture : Ropuia Ralte







Mizoram Lifted The Santosh Trophy For First Time

A bunch of unheralded diminutive footballers took the Santosh Trophy by storm and maintained their rich brand of fast-paced attacking football in the Final to deservingly win their maiden Nationals crown sweeping aside Railways 3-0 in the Title clash of the 68th National Championships for the Santosh Trophy here at the floodlit Kanchenjunga Stadium on Sunday (March 9, 2014).

A brace from Zico Zoremsanga either side of halftime, and a second half injury time strike from F Lalrinpuia capped a brilliant tournament for the Northeastern outfit who went from strength to strength as the competition progressed.

Railways – who had not won the Santosh Trophy since 1966 – came closest in the 43th minute when Rajesh S’s close-range header came off the crossbar.

Courtesy their triumph, Mizoram bagged a purse of Rs. 5 lakhs while runners-up Railways got richer by 3 lakhs.

Present on the occasion were All India Football Federation (AIFF) Senior Vice-President Subrata Dutta and Mr. Menla Ethenpa, AIFF Competitions Committee Chairman and Executive Committee Member.

The match started at a good pace with both the outfits looking for an early goal. Railways earned three quick corners to keep the rival defense on their toes while at the other end their goalkeeper Ehtesham Ahmed — oozing confidence after his penalty heroics in the semifinal — spread his body wide to keep Lalnunmawia and Lalbiakhlua’s shots at bay.

With Railways missing their first choice centre-backs Vimal Kumar and Rajiv Boro due to suspension, Mizoram looked to take advantage but first-timer Akhil Rajbanshi and makeshift stopper-back Dipankar Das stood firm.

David Larinmuana found Lalnumawia free on the left with a good-looking ball from midfield but the latter was well marked by Dipankar and right-back Y Raju Singh.

Lalbiakhlua then tried to be cheeky minutes into the half hour mark, trying to dink Ahmed from just outside the box on the right flank. But the hero of the previous night had his near-post covered with the attempt also landing onto the roof of the net.

It was end to end stuff with the action mostly concentrated in the final third.

The match’s best chance fell to Railways when striker Rajesh S hit the bar from close. Kisku tried his luck from the rebound but his effort was blocked.

Moments later, Mizoram took the lead. F.Lalrinpuia crossed for Zico inside the box. The striker who has found the back of the net three times already in the tournament trapped the ball and swiveled past his marker to slot home into the far corner with the goalkeeper at full stretch.

It was Mizoram who called the shots after the break. Three minutes into the half, Lalrinpuia unleashed a powerful left-footer which was fisted out by Ahmed but only as far as Lalnunmawia who side-netted his close range effort off the rebound.

But the red shirts who have been the flovour of the 68th Nationals did not have to wait for long to double their advantage and take a giant stride towards their maiden title.

Zico was in the thick of things again as Mizoram broke on the counter. Lalbiakhlua teed up the goalscorer who did exceptionally well to round the goalkeeper and shoot into an empty net.

The second goal deflated Railways’ spirit and the three-time champions looked to have thrown in the towel with their high-flying counterparts dominating possession.

F Lalrinpuia pinched their opponents’ emotion at the death with a third goal from close in injury time to complete the memorable victory.