Hero’s welcome in Manipur for its six Under-16 football stars

IMPHAL: Amid the unceasing

ethnic conflict

besetting Manipur, scores of people on Tuesday accorded a hero’s welcome to six of the 15 young footballers of the state who are members of the

Indian squad

which lifted the

South Asian Football Federation

SAFF under-16 championship 2023 trophy.
The players were also presented with Lengyan, a traditional Meitie scarf as many from the crowd shouted slogans cheering them.
In the final match of the championship played at Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, on Sunday, India beat Bangladesh 2-0. The goals were netted by Bharat Lairenjam, a Meitei, and Levis Zangminlun, a Kuki, both from Manipur.
Of the 15 from the state, eight — including five Meiteis, two Kukis (team captain Ngamgouhou Mate and Levis), and Md Arbash — are players of Imphal-based Classic Football Academy (CFA). Because of the ongoing conflict, Mate and Levis are on the verge of joining a football academy in Guwahati. Meanwhile, Md Arbash, who bagged the “Most Valuable Player” and “Top Scorer” titles in the championship, said he would continue to work hard and bring more laurels for the country and the state.

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