News and Views on Tibet

CONIFA Women’s Cup 2022 kickstarts in India

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Tibetan Women's team set to participate in CONIFA Women's Cup on Friday (Photo/TNSA)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, July 1: The Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) in collaboration with Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA) is set to launch the first CONIFA Women’s Cup from 1-6 July at Paonta Sahib in India.

“This Cup was actually supposed to be held at Romania first but because the pandemic, it was postponed but we approached the association following the cancelation, requesting that we get the opportunity to host the tournament as it is bound not only be beneficial for women’s football but also for the exile community,” Executive Director Tenzin Rinchen told Phayul.

Tibetan Women team captain, Jamyang Chotso, 25, said that most women in her team are students, college-goers, and only some are employed, but she hopes to do her best after practicing for two months in training. “There are generally very few women who play football in our community. I am sure our team will inspire more girls to take up this sport in the future. I feel there will be more opportunities stacked ahead for the younger generation of women. However, there are almost no professional women players; half of our team includes college students and only a few of us are working” Chotso told Phayul about her aspirations for the team.

The first game is scheduled between FC Sapmi and Tibet Team on Friday. “The other team looked like professional players when we were practicing alongside them. In the last three years, we have also had difficulty with training due to the pandemic. There are also some players who are playing on the team for the first team, but we have trained diligently for the last two months. So we are prepared to face the team today,” Captain Jamyang further said.

The Tibetan team consists of 23 players, who have been selected over the last year. Six players have been called from Nepal and remaining girls have been selected from India.

Despite prior announcement of four teams participating in the tournament, sources said that only two teams are participating as the other two teams reportedly withdrew due to logistical issues. According to TNSA, the organizing committee led by CONIFA is likely to make an official statement on the matter during the opening ceremony function on Friday evening.

One Response

  1. I have to admit I wasn’t able to watch all the matches the Tibetan Women’s Team played. From what I witnessed from their first match against Sampi, our girls were much smaller and thus less strong physically than their counterparts. In sports, physical strength is every thing and so, Tibetans should encourage physical strength and stamina as important elements in order to succeed in future.
    Two months of training may seem good enough but actually it needs much more time to train together to get the feel of the game and improve the co-ordination among the players who have come from different colleges and schools. Without ample time to learn to play as a team with maximum co-ordination, the team stands a slim chance to win.
    In fact it was very clear right from the beginning that our Women’s team was playing a defensive game with the burly Sampi girls throwing their body weight and passing up and down the field in order to keep the ball in their possession. Whenever, they got possession, they controlled the ball and looked for any opportunity to slot the ball into the net. The first shot was a powerful strike and the Tibetan goal keeper did a marvellous job to save it with both hands but the ball was still around the goal mouth and the opponent lost no opportunity to slot it into the goal with a quick strike.
    The Tibetan girls had no control of the ball because they just kicked whenever it posed a danger and didn’t seem to have much co-ordination. This gave their opponents to run on either side of the field or in the middle to get passes from their team mates to open up space around the goal mouth. Often, two or three Tibetan girls were engaged in chasing one opponent player to leave wide spaces and unmarked opponents which enabled the Sampi team to score at random.
    One of the secrets of success is to catch them young. The Tibetan National Team must arrange young children from different Tibetan schools for summer camp football training. Look for talents in their respective schools and then train them in order to get the best among the many young talents. We must make sport an important vehicle for our national struggle by getting recognition for our physical prowess in soccer. We have to hope that one day, we will produce Tibetan players who will be inducted into European teams! If the Japanese and Koreans can do it why not us? In fact Baichung Bhutia has already proved we can do it! He is the first Indian athlete to boycott the Beijing Olympic torch bearing ceremony in 2008 in support of Tibet to show his genealogical roots!

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