Updated: Nov 29, 2019
By Monojit Mandal
Sangma unveiled the Meghalaya #BabyLeague trophy and the official website of #MeghalayaFootballAssociation in the presence of #BanteidorLyngdoh – Minister of Sports, M War Nongbri – Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills, Larsing M Sawyan - President, Meghalaya Football Association, Swati Kothari- General Manager, All India Football Federation, and other dignitaries.
Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma congratulated the Meghalaya football association for taking up this grand initiative in organizing the second season of Meghalaya Baby League in the state. He said that it is important to start the learning process in terms of developing footballing skills in children at a very tender age and that Meghalaya Baby League is a perfect platform for such a task to be undertaken.
“Meghalaya Baby League will not only help children in bringing out their true potential and talent in respect of the game but will also help them learn the value of true sportsmanship, discipline, and teamwork further ahead in life and not just in the game. This learning will help a child to develop holistically as life is all about winning and losing sometimes.” Said the Chief Minister.
He also urged parents to support their children more in taking up sports as this should not be seen as a distraction for studies as studies and sports can go hand in hand in the true development of a child. Conrad also said that there will be a support of every kind from Government of Meghalaya in this great initiative.
The Baby League was primarily initiated to provide a competitive playing platform for grassroots football in Meghalaya and it was a grand success. The level of performance saw a massive spike between the month of May and December 2018 proving that regular competitive matches at the grassroots level fuels the growth and development of a player’s tactical and technical abilities.
Speaking on the occasion, State Sports Minister, Banteidor Lyngdoh applauded the great initiative by Meghalaya Football Association in launching the second Baby League in the state after successfully hosting the same in 2018. He said this type of initiative will help in breeding the National and International football player in the near future.
He gave an example of India’s top two football professionals Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chhetri and said that they didn’t get this type of support during their early age and yet they went on to become so successful at the top level of the footballing arena.
He also added that, as a Sports Minister of the state, he wants Meghalaya to become the powerhouse of football in the coming days and he said he is assured with an enterprise like Meghalaya Baby League that is going to happen sooner or later.
Lyngdoh also announced the start of senior Meghalaya State League and Under-15 Meghalaya State League simultaneously from this year, sanctioned by Government of Meghalaya as a step to promote football in the state.
“If without any support of this stature Sunil and Baichung could accomplish so much in their footballing career, then think with the help of Baby League what we can achieve. The days are not far when we are going to play in the World Cup and initiatives like Baby Leagues are going to help us in our cause ” said Lyngdoh.
‘We are the same human being like other top footballers around the world but with developing and nurturing the skills from an early age and working hard on our techniques we also can catch them at the same level” Lyngdoh added.
Lyngdoh concluded his speech saying “ Your baby step today will be a giant leap tomorrow”
The #MeghalayaFootballAssociation launched the Baby League in 2018, in collaboration with Tata Trusts and supported by the Government of Meghalaya. The Baby League ran for a period of six months, making it the longest league of its kind in India. A striking number of 1580 children registered for the baby league across 12 teams playing close to 1600 matches.
In 2019, The Meghalaya Baby League will be hosted in five districts, East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, East Jaintia Hills, West Jaintia Hills and Tura.
All India Football Federation General Managers lauded the initiative and congratulated Meghalaya Football Association and Meghalaya Government to take up this initiative and make it happen to overcome so many challenges, where the children get a platform to showcase, nurture and develop their footballing skills from an early age and make it to the large scale at some point in time.