Kohima, 14 October (MTNews): Red Scars FC defeated Liangmai FC 4-2 in the final match to emerge as the champions of the state’s prestigious football tournament, the 23rd NSF Martyrs Memorial Trophy, at IG Stadium Kohima on Saturday.
In the final showdown, Red Scars made an early breakthrough, with Yhunshalo Kemp converting a penalty in the 23rd minute. H Minghlu added the second goal in the 36th minute, propelling Red Scars to a 2-0 lead in the first half. Goalkeeper Horlan from Red Scars FC delivered a spectacular performance by saving three crucial shots, maintaining the team’s momentum throughout the match.
The second half witnessed a spirited comeback by Liangmai FC, as they relentlessly pursued a goal. Substitute Zumzum Punyù managed to score the first goal for Liangmai FC in the 61st minute.
However, the tides turned against Liangmai FC when one of their defenders was sent off for an intentional handball inside the box in the 74th minute, leaving them with 10 players. Yhunshalo Kemp successfully converted the second penalty in the 75th minute, and Hongreiwang Richard netted another goal in the 85th minute, extending Red Scars’ lead to 4-1.
Despite Widambo Rentta’s goal for Liangmai in the 94th minute, it was too late for them to change the outcome, settling for the runner-up position.
H Minghlu was honored with the Man of the Match award for his outstanding performance in the final match.
Red Scars FC, the deserving champions, claimed a cash prize of Rs. 2.50 lakhs along with the coveted trophy and citations. Liangmai FC, the runners-up, received Rs. 1,50,000, while the semifinalists New Market FC and United FC Piphema were awarded Rs. 35,000 each.
The closing ceremony was graced by K Neibou Sekhose, President of the Nagaland Football Association, as the guest of honor. He presented the awards to the winning teams.
This trophy is organized in honor of two fallen comrades, the late Kekuojalie Sachü from Kohima village and the late Vikhozo Yhoshii from Kigwema village, who tragically lost their lives to indiscriminate firing by armed police from Alichen on March 22, 1986.
These two brave individuals were part of a peaceful duty call by the student fraternity, protesting the expansion of the disturbed area belt from 5km to 20km along the Indo-Myanmar border. They were also voicing their opposition to the induction of Indian Police Service (IPS) cadres into the state of Nagaland.
In remembrance of their supreme sacrifices, the Angami Students Union has been organizing this tournament annually. The 23rd edition continues to pay homage to these two martyrs, ensuring that their memory lives on.