By Tenzin Dharpo
Match between DYSA Mundgod and Dhasa United FC in progress. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, June 1: The Tibetan people’s love for the sport of football can be affirmed every year with the coveted Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Gold Cup, the leading sports event in the calendar of exile Tibetan community. The 25th edition of the tournament kicked of on Friday here at Upper TCV’s football ground where the first GCM was held back in 1981.
This year’s tournament features 23 teams from around the globe including North America and the UK, along with stalwarts from the Indian sub-continent like Mundgod FC, Dhondupling FC, Dhasa United FC and new entrants like Hyderabad FC and Tezu FC all vying for the title of the 2019 championship. Currently in the group stage of the tournament, the coming week will see each of the eight groups promote a single team for the knock out stage scheduled to begin from June 8.
23 teams of the 25th GCM Gold Cup take part in March Past during the opening ceremony hear at TCV ground on May 31, 2019
The opening day saw Speaker of the Tibetan parliament in exile, Pema Jugney, Health minister of the CTA, Choekyong Wangchuk as guests along with over 3000 fans who paid tribute to all the Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for Tibet. The dignitaries urged the participants of the tournament to display fair play and sportsmanship.
The opening day match featured defending champion DYSA Mudgod FC against home team Dhasa United FC. While the home team played a better game in terms of ball possession and chances created, the conversion rate was disappointingly below par. Mundgod FC’s veteran striker known and loved by the crowd as ‘Affi’ slot in a second half right footer from a counter attack. The game finished one goal to nothing in favor of the defending champions.
The tournament which rotates its venue every three years among Dharamshala, Dehradun and South India is perhaps most eagerly awaited when it is held here in Dharamshala, considered by many as the seat of the exile Tibetan diaspora. The 10-day tournament right before the Dharamshala monsoon season is a fan-favorite for all things football, passion and on several occasions, hooliganism and friction between opposing teams and fans.