Shillong, Apr 28: The Shillong Sports Association Stadium at First Ground, Polo, is not fit for conducting a football tournament, new SSA President Syntar Klas Sunn said after being elected to the post yesterday.
Speaking to the press, Sunn also described the dusty Second Ground as an “eyesore” and said that the SSA would try and acquire the land and develop the field.
However, the SSA’s main priority, he said, would be to improve the SSA Stadium pitch, which has terrible drainage and was practically a swamp during the monsoon, when the Shillong Premier League is held.
“We don’t have a field fit for conducting a football tournament. Priority one is to improve the ground. Priority two is to get the funds for the SSA so that we can offer a bigger prize to the clubs,” Sunn said.
A bigger purse would encourage the clubs to field higher quality teams and that would bring in larger crowds, the sitting MLA opined.
“Through the SSA and its tournaments many players have come up. For instance, my son, Eugeneson Lyngdoh. He played in the I-League for Shillong Lajong and Rangdajied United, then Bengaluru FC, then FC Pune City and he went on to represent the country. He was a product of the SSA. But to ensure that many players come out again with flying colours we will have to equip the SSA with all means required,” Sunn said.
He was also asked about the second phase of the renovation to the SSA Stadium. Three sections of the old wooden stands have been replaced with modern covered galleries, but two sides of the ground still sport the old style of seats, which are very much dilapidated now. Ninety percent of the first phase renovation funds were provided by the North Eastern Council, with the remaining 10% borne by the state government.
“The NEC will fund it only if the state makes the project a priority. If the proposal to improve this ground is included in the priority list of the state government then they (NEC) will consider it,” Sunn said. “So, I doubt that the proposal to improve this ground has been in the priority list. And my responsibility for 2019-20 is that it should be included.”
(TSR file photo)