Tapan (L), another player and Karma Tsewang (R)
GAYA, JAN. 11: On the sidelines of the 34th Kalachakra initiation here, a football tournament dubbed "Tibetan Champion’s League” is currently underway with eight teams from India and Nepal vying for the trophy designed exactly the same as the EUFA Champion’s league trophy.
Organized by Nyima Gyaltsen, a young Tibetan entrepreneur based in Bylakuppee, the tournament commenced on Jan. 3 at the Magadh University stadium under artificial lights. However, spectators comprising mostly of monks say that the lights were too low for them to watch the games as it hinders players’ as well as their vision.
“We have tried our best to light the field up for a standard game but due to the elevation of the lights we do face some problems. However, we are working on improving the visibility by installing more lights,” said Nima on the second day of the tournament.
Past champions of Gyalyum Chenmo Gold Cup Dhondupling FC Clement Town and defending Champions Tibetan Dekyi Larsoe FC are the hopeful contenders for the coveted glory in the most popular sport of the world. Other teams include CST Mungod, Kerela FC, Phakshing Kathmandu and Jetsun FC South India.
Penpa Norbu of Norling FC Kathmandu failed to shine today.
After league and quarter final games until yesterday, the tournament today saw the first semi final between TDL Bylakuppee and Norling FC Kathmandu. Today’s game was dubbed the final as it comprised of many stars of Tibetan football world including Penpa Norbu, last 2015 GCM’s highest scorer, Karma Tsewang, the only Tibetan playing in I league (Salgaoncar FC) and Tapan, the yellow haired number seven (Ta Serpo Number seven – a name used by monks for him).
A solitary goal in the second half from a mistake by the Kathmandu custodian separated the to teams, indicating a likely repeat of the Gyalyum Chenmo Gold Cup 2017 Final to face Dhondup Liing FC Clement Town who will face CIHTS, Varanasi in the second semi final tomorrow.
A few disruptions to the matches in the early stages of the tournament were caused by problems related to floodlights installed for the games, all of which are played after the teachings at the Kalachakra ground finishes for the day.
The organizers have provided accommodation and food for the players of all the teams.
Nima Gyaltsen says it is his attempt to bring the Tibetan youth closer through this tournament and to encourage the Tibetan youth to embrace sports and health, not drugs. “We see a lot of our youth fall into drugs and other things, and sports is one way of fighting this menace because if we have tournaments like this more and more youth get a platform to show their talent instead of wasting time on drugs.”
The winner gets two hundred thousand Rupees and the runners up gets one hundred thousand, the highest prize money ever in the history of Tibetan sports.