By Tenzin Dharpo
A jubilant victory team after winning the 'Thank you India' tournament on June 10, 2018. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, June 11: After ten days of vigorous game schedule, shades of hooliganism and yet another display of the Tibetan diaspora’s love for the game of football, the inaugural ‘Thank you India’ football tournament organized by the Tibetan Youth Congress, was lifted by the most disciplined and well rounded ‘Victory Team’ on Sunday.
The Victory FC had an ominous start to their campaign in the tournament with one of their main strikers injured before playing a single game and also losing their opening game against Bir RTYC team. The team that fielded the most disciplined team propelled by a neat trio in the back and a hard working midfield feeding an outright goal hungry striker, in the end won in a closely fought match against Deckyiling RTYC yesterday.
The first half of the game disparaged the public opinion of an easy win by the Victory FC with Dickyiling team showing no fear, matching every challenge thrown by the other team’s offense. The runners up looked most dangerous during close quarter set pieces, however the victory team goalie stood tall and fended off many a ‘danger balls’.
The match in action. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon
The impasse was broken in the latter parts of the second half when the Victory FC's most judicious striker Tenzin Thinley lobbed in the first goal of the final game from a seemingly dead angle, and over the goal keeper who has kept the most clean-sheets in the tournament. Thinley, deservingly donning the no. 10 jersey, scored a pure striker’s goal minutes later taking advantage of a mistake by the Dickyiling goalie and putting to bed any hopes of a comeback by Dickyiling.
The last turn in the game was a goal by Dickyiling in the dying minutes of the game but their new found spurt of energy thereafter proved too little too late.
The ten days of football played in the hallowed ground of the TCV School that has seen many bouts of the exile Tibetan football folklore perhaps attested to the love for football of the Tibetan people more than anything when they clapped off the Chief guest of the day, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, in anticipation of the final game.
The murkier side of the tournament came to light with supporters of Bir Chauntra united displaying shades of hooliganism; bursting fire crackers, throwing beer bottles. While the sites during some of the games got gory at times, no players were injured off the pitch.
The Tibetan Youth Congress that organized the tournament in tandem with the exile Tibetan government’s ‘Thank you India’ campaign can take pride on larger contexts such as friendship with the local Indian community, expressing gratitude to the Indian government and promoting sports among Tibetan youth. On finer aspects though such as improving the refereeing standards and confronting hooliganism, TYC might need to set higher goals next time around.