By Tenzin Dharpo
Team Dickyi Larsoe from Bylakuppe with the gold cup after a hard fought match against Dhundupling football club, photo: Tenzin Namdol/TNSA
DHARAMSHALA, April 14: The most coveted sporting event of the Tibetan exile community concluded today with the Tibetan Dickyi Larsoe FC from Bylakuppe winning the 22nd edition of the football tournament held in memory of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s mother Dikyi Tsering.
The final game between the TDL (Team Dickyi Larsoe) and Dhundupling Football club from Clement town did not disappoint with both the teams engaging in a thrilling box to box game throughout the match.
Five time winner Dhondupling FC made an early mistake in the first half with Choenjor ( TDL jersey no.23) capitalizing on a failed off-side trap by netting the goal past the goalkeeper.
With an early lead by a goal, TDL played some wonderful game of football making several attempts at goal but Dhondupliing defended well not letting the TDL increase the lead.
Dhondupling FC were playing the final game without their captain, one of the most experienced stoppers known popularly as Lambu (Hindi: tall) owing to two successive yellow cards in the previous matches.
Despite mighty defence of TDL, Tenzin Tsundue (Dhondupling Jersey no. 9) gave an unexpected comeback to his team in the game by scoring what many among the spectators believed was the goal of the tournament. Tenzin ran past two TDL defenders and hit a massive volley into the net past the TDL custodian. The equalizer sent the newly constructed ‘Doeguling Tsedthang’ into a thunderous applause, bringing the much required thrill into the game for the audience, estimated around 5000 people. The match was tied at 1-1 in fulltime and entered extra time. The tired legs of both the teams were visible in the two halves of extra time with neither managing to score, sending the game into penalty shootout.
TDL custodian proved hero for his team by blocking two penalty kicks giving the much required confidence for his players to score. TDL players ran on the field in joy after their fourth kick-taker made no mistake in scoring the goal. It ended 4-1 in favor of TDL Bylakupee.
The runners up were honored with medals and a trophy by the Chief Representative (acting) Choephel Thupten.
The winners were honored with medals and the Cup by the chief guest His Eminence Ling Choktrul Rinpoche.
Among the eighteen teams (16 from India and 2 from Nepal) that participated in the 2016 GCMGC tournament, the fair play award went to the Phendeling Football club from Mainpat. Tenzin Phuntsok from Orrisa Football club received the golden boot for his unrivalled 12 goals in the tournament.
The 2016 edition of the tournament was streamed live to cater to the Tibetan disapora spread across many continents.
A sister tournament ‘2016 GCMGC Toronto’ will be held in Canada in July to accommodate teams from North America and Europe where there is a sizable Tibetan community. 11 teams (9 North American teams and 2 European teams) will participate in that tournament.
"Today's match was one of those rare games played between two teams in exile. We have seen this beautiful game of football evolve from an unruly higher -the -better - kick in the air to the well planned attacks and defense we saw today from both the teams, it was just too beautiful," said Tenzin Desey, a Tibetan playing in the Toronto GCM for Madison Yak Boyz, adding that he wished if the organizers of the Toronto GCM could bring today's winners TDL to Toronto for a spectacular feat, a world Tibet Cup of sorts.
"Yeah, god was liitle too harsh for the Dhondupling FC, I truly believe the senior players in the team should have shown courage to take the penalty instead of new players. Yeah, that happens. But that's football, it is the most beautiful game that the Tibetans have fallen in love with. Maybe thats the start of Tibet's journey from here to the world stage."
Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup (GCMGC), started in 1981, has since captured the affinity of the Tibetan people’s love for sports and football in particular.
People in Clement Town watched the game on a giant screen through the live feed provided by the team headed by Phuntsok Dorjee and assisted by Malikkarjun, Norbu and Namdol. Phayul.com as a media partner of the tournament provided the main Camera for the live streaming.