By Tenzin Dharpo
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, June 10: The Doeguling Youth and Sports Association(DYSA) Mundgod Football Club defended the Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Football champion’s title in an exhilarating match up against Dhondupling FC, Clement Town, five times champions.
DYSA, Mundgod struck the first blow with a header from Tenzin Monlam through a cross inside the ten yard box. However, the lead taken by DYSA, Mundgod, proved to be shorlived as Dhondupling came back into the game through a nicely created opportunity and converted stylishly.
The regulation time failed to produced any goal from both the sides despite some excellent chances foiled by both the teams. The game went into extra time and then into penalty shootout. DYSA FC veteran striker and crowd favorite Affi slot in the last kick of the game sealing the victory for his team after Chennai FC goalie and the golden glove winner of the tournament Tenzin Samdup made two crucial saves in the penalty shoot out. DYSA Mundgod FC won the shoot out 4-2 against Dhondupling FC.
Both the teams played box-to-box football minus significant midfielder involvement as the match up saw strikers and defenders of opposing team fight for the ball for the majority of the game.
The two teams represent giants of Tibetan football. While Dhondupling FC from Clement town are the most decorated team in the history of the tournament, DYSA Mundgod team is the most youthful and consistent team of the tournament having secured the honors back to back and lifted the coveted cup three times in the last five years.
The ten-day tournament this year saw 23 teams vie for the honor of the best team in exile Tibetan community 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.
In the 30 games that were played in the course of the 10 days, 82 goals were scored in total. While crowd favourite Goa FC crashed out in the quarters and home team Dhasa FC failed to even qualify from the group stage, underdogs Sonamling from Ladakh reached the quarters after a closely fought game and eventually lost out on penalties.
The most prestigious sporting event of the Tibetan diaspora however has its fair share of critics with players and mangers of participating teams rueing the format of the tournament where each team gets to play two league games and then advancing to knockout stage.
DYSA Mundgod FC goalie Tenzin Samdup said, “The two league games can hardly be considered a legitimate league as the first game decides if the team can advance or not.” Two teams who have travelled from other continents: North America FC played only four games in the tournament even though they reached the semi finals while London FC played only two games, one of them a token, in the group stage.
Coach of Kollegal FC, Sithar opined that Tibetan football in general and its governing body has not even scratched the surface when it comes to constructively building structures for development of the game in the community. He also lamented the discouragingly poor refereeing standards of the game. “Teams prepare for months to participate in the tournament but because of one poor decision from the referee, their fate is sealed and their hard work made invalid. The refereeing standards were poor and detrimental to how the tournament shaped,” he said.
In the 30 games, only two penalty, that too to the same team in the same game, were given by Indian officials despite fouls and handballs in the box on several occasions.