In a boost to budding football talent in the state, chief minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday said his government will soon develop three astro-turf football grounds — one each in Imphal West, Imphal East and Thoubal.
Eight players from Manipur, the little powerhouse of sports in India, are among India's 21-member soccer squad in the World Cup.
A former footballer himself, Biren said the artificial turf would enable players to play football throughout the year. Concerned officials have been asked to prepare a detailed project report on the matter, the chief minister said while inspecting the ongoing repairing work being taken up at Khuman Lampak sports complex here. Biren said the Khuman Lampak main stadium ground is being developed into the football field of international standards with natural grass turf fields and would be completed before the commencement of the I-league tournament next month.
Biren also urged sports associations of the state to step forward and coordinate with the government. Under the Khelo India scheme, a national sports development programme, every block of the state will have a playground to encourage the sporting culture among youths in the country.
The announcement came amid the people's celebration over Thounaojam Jeakson Singh's first goal for the country in the ongoing Fifa U-17 World Cup. Manipur erupted in joy on Tuesday night after Jeakson netted India's maiden gold with a stylish header against Columbia at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
Goalkeeper Moirangthem Dheeraj Singh's stunning performance in the hard-fought match gave Indian fans a reason to cheer even as India lost to Columbia 2-1.
During the inspection, the CM visited the temporary office of the Sports University situated in Manipur Olympic Association office buildinh at Khuman Lampak. Stating that he is satisfied with the ongoing work for the varsity, Biren added that the country's first Sports University is almost ready. The state government is waiting for the confirmation of Prime Minister's schedule for the inauguration, he further said.
While lauding the Manipuri boys' stellar performance, the chief minister said, "Manipur should have been given an opportunity to host at least a match of U-17 World Cup 2017."
By: K Sarojkumar Sarma | Source: TOI-TheTimesOfIndia (TNN)