Namchi, 05 Jan [IPR]: The 9th All India Chief Minister’s Gold Cup International Football Tournament, organised by the South District Football Association [SDFA] kicked off at Jorethang Playground today with Education Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha declaring the tournament open.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Power Minister MN Sherpa, Buildings & Housing Minister Sanjit Kharel [also the patron of the tournament], Salghari Zoom MLA Sunita Gazmer [also a Patron], Political Secretary to the CM Jacob Khaling [Patron], Zilla Adhyaksha South Tshering Dem Bhutia and a host of State Government officials, members of organising committee and local gentry.
The inaugural match was played between Sikkim Youth Club and Kalimpong VI which the former team won 5:4.
A total of 14 teams from Sikkim, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Shillong, Kolkata, Punjab and also from Nepal and Bhutan are taking part in the tournament.
The chief guest, in his brief address, shared that the tournament was being organised after a gap of nearly five years in Jorethang and for this, the credit goes to Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang [Golay] for encouraging young footballers to participate in the tournament.
He added that the State Government has given priority to sports and other activities as sports can aid today's youth in making them physically fit and mentally sound.
SDFA general secretary Pavitra Manav informed that the final match is scheduled for 19 January coinciding with the concluding day of Jorethang Maghey Sankranti Mela.
The tournament is being telecast live through Facebook and screens have been installed at MG Lane and the playground gallery.
The theme song of South District Football Association was also released by the chief guest today.
Nedup Lepcha, goalkeeper of Sikkim Youth Club, was adjudged as the 'Hero of the Match' and presented with a cash award of Rs 10,000.