Women players compete in a local football tournament in Panchthar district in this recent photo. Photo: Republica
PANCHTHAR, Oct 26: Football fever has gripped Panchthar district. Numerous big and small football tournaments with different amount of cash prizes have begin across the district with the end of rainy season.
Football is hugely popular sports here and the locals form their own teams in tournaments held at the standard or small-size grounds.
This trend goes on throughout the whole winter season as many organizations hold tournaments on the occasion of different festivals including Dashain, Tihar, Chasok, Maghe Sankranti and New Year. The funding for most of the tournaments come for the locals who are in foreign employment and also through donations at the local level.
One of the biggest tournaments of the district is currently running at Ghurbise Panchami of Faktep.
The tournament featuring 26 teams sees squads from Panchthar, Ilam and Jhapa. The tournament being organized by Namtek Youth Club will conclude on October 28 and the winner will walk home with purse of Rs 101,000.
Similarly, the tournament organized by Tarun Dal featuring 21 teams of the district is also currently underway in Phidim Bazar. Some tournaments have already completed, some others have started and few more are yet to being.
The number of participates in the local tournaments are remarkable. Altogether 64 teams participated in a tournament organized recently in the Tharpu Bazar on the occasion of traditional Nishan festival. The first prize of the tournament was Rs 50,000 according organizing committee member Asim Mabo. The tournaments in the localities like Lungrupa, Sidin, Nagin, Memeng have already concluded while some other Village Development Committees (VDCs) of the district are preparing to organize them.
In the tournament organized in Sidin, 44 men's and women's teams had participated with the winning side taking away a goat.
As football is much loved here, there is football team in every ward of the VDCs. Enthusiastic local players are crazy toward the game despite lack of proper facilities including lack of standard football ground. Moreover, most of the team do not have proper training ground as well as coach.
Though football in the district hasn't reached professional level, organizing tournaments is mushrooming.
Falgunanda Gold Cup is the biggest tournament of the district. It attracts huge spectators. Such football tournaments bring excitement in the district throughout the winter season. Besides this, ward, village and district level tournaments are also popular in the localities.