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Tibetan women’s football team withdraws from CONIFA 2024 after visa roadblock

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The Tibetan woman's team after the completion of thier camp in Clement town, India (Photo/TNSA)

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, June 4: The Tibetan Women’s Football Team has withdrawn from the Confederation of Independent Football Association (CONIFA) Women’s World Football Cup 2024 after the team was unable to secure visa to travel aboard on time. Scheduled to compete in Norway from June 4th to 8th, the team faced insurmountable visa delays, ultimately preventing their participation.

Jangchup Gyalsten, the director of the Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA) told Phayul, “As of June 3rd, the Tibetan Women’s Football Team was still awaiting the necessary visas to travel to Norway but the visa application process was fraught with challenges. Despite our efforts and continuous communication with embassy officials, the necessary visas for the team members were not issued on time. This situation has left us with no choice but to withdraw from the tournament.” 

The withdrawal is a significant blow to the team, which had trained rigorously for over a month at Dhondupling Tibetan Settlement in Dehradun from April 20th. The 16-player squad of the Tibetan team selected this year, consisted three players are from Nepal, one from the USA, and the remaining players from India. Their first match was scheduled for June 4 against Sapmi, followed by matches against Tamil Eelam FA on June 5 and Székely Land on June 6.

Despite this setback, TNSA, in collaboration with the Ladakh Football Association, is set to participate in a tournament for women in Ladakh, featuring four women’s teams, including the Tibetan women’s team. The tournament is set to kick off on June 8. 

The Tibetan Women’s team participated in the CONIFA Women’s Cup in July 2022. TNSA hosted the first CONIFA Women’s World Football Cup in North India’s Poanta Cholsum Tibetan Settlement, in collaboration with CONIFA. 

CONIFA is a football federation for associations outside of FIFA. Founded on June 7th, 2013, it is a global non-profit organization inclusive of all international football teams, regardless of their political backgrounds. Teams can represent nations, de-facto nations, regions, minority peoples, and sports-isolated territories.

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