Lajong Tour 2010 : The experience of a life time.
By: Andrew Suting , Head of Operations(SLFC)
How well do we know our own backyard, I beg to ask. After this trip I can say that I know and understand it substantially better. The North East known to many as a region where militancy thrives, poverty prevails and political chaos rule.
The SLFC Tour I hope will dispel some of the generalizations made because to us it did as the people in the states we visited were warm and hospitable.
The Lajong North East Tour as we dubed it, is the first ever such tour conducted by any professional sports team of India. We covered over 3000 kms, visited 6 major districts and their capitals with the sole aim to promote sports and football in general and to instill in a few boys the confidence to dream.
Our first stop was Mokokchung, and happy to say that it looked the same as the image I had from being there a few years back albeit with a mall or two changing the landscape but still having the distinction of being the safest towns in Nagaland. We were hosted by the Mokokchung District Football Associations whose members were passionate and dedicated but with limited means and expertise to develop the sport.
Our first day in and a Coaching cum selection camp had been arranged by MDFA for U-17’s and U-15’s at the Imkongmeren Stadium which like almost all the grounds in the North East was used more as a parking lot during Political rally’s, to a concert ground and holding ever other event under the sun. None the less a turnout of 20 boys on the first day was encouraging considering all the schools were in exam mode. The boys were technically behind but the potential was evident. It does inspire coaches as it is not often that they get to select boys who at the age of 16 or 17 stand tall at 5,9/10 in the North East , which I have to admit something the Naga boys did not lack in. At the end of the two day coaching session we selected three boys from Mokokchung and invited an ex player/ coach to come to Shillong to learn from the Lajong coaching staff and to continue with what we started.
Mokokchung was a beautiful experience and was made all the more better when people on the street would walk up to us and thank us for coming and working with the youth.
For me it was what I had hoped for, that people would realize that we would make a difference.
A big thank you goes out to Mr Bendang , Imli, Lawerence and the members of MDFA.
More on the other places visited by SLFC in the days to come —-> next stop Dimapur.
Photos From SLFC At Mokokchung[slideshow id=32]