EPL club Reading-APFA sign MoU to help Arunachal soccer soar

Itanagar, Sept. 30 (ANI): Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki set yet another record today, by ensuring the signing of an MoU between English Premier League club Reading FC and the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA) for promoting hidden soccer talent in the state.

Reading FC adviser Tomo Nomuk and APFA president and Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy signed the MoU in the presence of Chief Minister Tuki, Sports Authority of Arunachal Pradesh Chairman Tapuk Taku and Vice Chairman Likha Tara, several lawmakers and state government officials in Itanagar.

Expressing his happiness, Tuki said despite the procedural and bureaucratic delay, Arunachal has become the first state in India to ink such agreement with an Englsih Premier League club.

He informed that his government would provide grant of Rs 35 lakh to the APFA through the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs (DoSYA) for meeting the expenses of to and fro expenses, training, lodging and the boarding and lodging of two senior coaches the club would be engaging for six months for hunting soccer talent throughout the state.

The club would also assist and advice in the setting up of a football academy in the state.

During the recent U-19 football tournament, the Arunachal team beat all states except Kerala and Mizoram, which reflected the abundance of hidden talent in the state, Tuki said, adding that the MoU is in tune with his government's policy to promote sports and games, and to convert the negative energies of the Arunachalee youth to positive to make them vibrant and self-reliant while contributing to nation building.

The chief minister also proposed that state's best soccer team could be taken to London to play with the Reading Club on an exposure trip or vice versa.

Sanjoy joined Tuki in appreciating Nomuk for his initiative that led to the agreement. He said the coaches would conduct week-long camp in cluster basis to hunt talent before training them and assured that the APFA would ensure the dream of the state government to produce national and global level footballers turn a reality.

Pointing out that physical fitness and diet hold the key to become a top footballer, Pollution Control Board chairman Ralom Borang suggested to set up a gym and an artificial turf for the players to practice.

Shillong in the entire North East region has two turfs, he said, and welcomed the exposure trip of state's soccer team.

"The MoA would be a unique opportunity for the young footballers of the state with the huge impact of the training by both the coaches. Besides coaching the coaches would educate them about healthy living. Football is more about tactical, technical, physical and social," Nomuk said.

Assuring the best efforts of the club to offer world class training, Nomuk said that the club has decided to set up a football academy in Jharkhand soon and the same expertise could be given to Arunachal as well.

Agriculture Marketing Board chairman Techi Kaso, DoSYA assistant director Tadar Apa and OSD Ramesh Lingi were present on the occasion.

"Arunachal Pradesh can produce world-class footballers if the abundant talent is properly harnessed. There is no reason why budding footballers in the state cannot graduate to the world level", was the comment of Eamonn Dolan and Lee Heron, both renowned coaches of Reading FC.

The duo had during their maiden tour of the state in October last year had interacted with the students of Sange Lhaden Sports Academy and watched many football matches including of the famous Tadar Tang Memorial State Level Football Tournament at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Naharlagun.

Eamonn, also director of the Club, is one of the top football academy managers in the world, credited with playing for the Republic of Ireland under 21. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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