By Tenzin Dharpo
A Tibetan player moves away from a Mohan Bagan player during the match at Paljor Staduim in Sikkim. Oct. 11, 2017. Source-Goal.Sikkim
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 11: For the young Tibetan team, who nearly pulled off a sports equivalent of the ‘David vs. Goliath’ instance, the 90th minute goal that they conceded against Mohun Bagan might have been a heartbreak. However, it also was one of their proudest moments of being a Tibetan. The team that was put together just a few months ago played with such quality and grit at par with the professional club of highest order for the better part of the regulated time.
In the end though, the last minute goal put the Tibetans on the losing side but the Tibetan boys gave out their whole heart and more etching a proud chapter in the history of Tibetan football. Mohun Bagan AC beat the TNSA team scoring a 90th minute goal in the quarter final match in the Governor’s Gold Cup tournaman this afternoon at Paljor Stadium in Sikkim.
The Tibetan team pose with opponent Mohan Bagan AC before the match at Paljor Stadium in Sikkim. Oct. 11, 2017. Source-Goal.Sikkim
Bagan striker Kramah (no.5) last gasp goal was the defining point in the match which otherwise saw both the teams attacking box to box on many occasions. The game that leaned to the attacking prowess of two teams also saw a tensed Bagan team often resorting to tackles to contain the Tibetan side. Three Bagan players; Kramah-Jersey no. 5, Dicka-no. 9 and Kinshuk no. 4 received yellow cards.
The defeat sends the Tibetan team out of the 37th edition of the prestigious Sikkim Governor's Gold Cup but Tibetan National Sports Association’s Executive Secretary Passang Dorjee has hailed the match as a victory. “Losing a close match against one of India’s top club is nothing short of a victory for us. Our boys played a great match. The crowds were running on the ground asking for pictures with us after the match and many notable dignitaries have called us for dinner tonight. I guess we lost the match but won the people’s heart here today,” Passang told Phayul.
The Secretary also said that the tournament has been a seminal learning curve for the team which has been qualified to play in the upcoming 2018 CONIFA World Cup in London. “The squad will most probably remain same for the tournament next year and we have planned periodic camps before we go to London provided we manage to gather the necessary funds until then,” Passang said.
The current Tibetan squad has a few club level players including team captain Karma Tsewang who earlier played for I-league champion Pune FC and Pema Norbu who plays at club level in Gangtok.