Arunachal Pradesh is one of the three states along with Nagaland and Tripura to not have any representation in the top division of India’s club football circuit. But with the advent of the Arunachal Super League, things might change for the better as it is the first ever league tournament in the state.
Launched in 2017 as the T K Arunachal Super League, it started with seven teams vying for silverware at the end of the two-month long league. The participating clubs were Todo United, Nirjuli Utd. FC, Gora Makik SC (GMSC), Tagung Neri SC, Capital Complex FC, Bamang Taji FC, and Deed Circle FC. All the matches were held at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Naharlagun where the teams played each other once in a league system. The top four teams qualified for semi-finals whereas the bottom two had to play a qualifier to once again ensure participation in the Super League 2018.
GMSC clinched the maiden Arunachal Super League title beating Todo United with two second half goals in the final.
In the second edition of the Super League, 12 teams are set to participate as confirmed by Kipa Ajay – secretary of the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA).
“We are going to divide Arunachal Pradesh into Eastern Zone and Western Zone. The top four from each zone will directly qualify for the Super League. The next five teams from each zone will enter a qualifier round alongside the two bottom-placed teams from the Super League last season. Four teams from this tournament will progress to the Super League,” explained Ajay.
Although the dates are yet to be finalized, it is expected that the tournament will kick-off in the last week of September.
The Tadar Tang State Level Football Tournament is another premier division competition, normally held in December, where the entire state is divided into six zones. Top two teams these zones go on to participate in the main event which is held at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.
In the main event, the 12 teams are further divided into four groups with the top two teams from each group progressing into the knock-out stages.
In the latest edition of the tournament, Capital Complex defeated five times champions Lower Subansiri by 1-0.
The footballing season in Arunachal starts with the Dera Natung (U-16) State Level Football Championship where any District Team/ School /Club is eligible to take part. 15 teams registered for this edition of the tournament. The teams were divided into four groups and the group champions were pitted against each other in the semi-finals.
Polocity FC defeated Arunachal SC (2)4-3(2) on penalties in the final match to win 5th Dera Natung tournament.
The APFA is set to host ‘Baby League’ for young aspirants between five to 12 years to develop the game from the grassroots level in the month of September. All India Football Federation has assured to lend every possible help in organizing the league in the state.