Shillong, Apr 14: With 2020 washed out because of Covid-19, the Shillong Sports Association is determined to find a way to hold this year’s local football season despite the continuing challenges posed by the pandemic, not to mention other factors.
Today was the last day of the SSA’s inter-club transfer, with well over 200 players completing the formalities before the 6:30PM deadline.
Yesterday the state government restricted the number of spectators at outdoor sporting events to 50% of capacity because of rising Covid-19 cases in Meghalaya.
The SSA realises, however, that whatever limits the government puts in place, the season has to go on for the benefit of the players.
“Sports is not just a pastime anymore but a career for our youth,” SSA Vice-President Robert Dkhar said today.
However, the junior tournaments, like the U-18 Shillong Premier League, will not be held this year.
All five other divisions – from the SPL down to the Fourth Division (which is restricted to U-20 players) – will go ahead. The Fourth Division will kick off the season from May.
The other issue the SSA has to get around is the problem of venues. The resurfacing of First Ground (which belongs to the SSA) is still underway, while the government is looking to renovate the JN Stadium as part of the preparations for the National Games 2022. The Meghalaya Football Association’s Third Ground, meanwhile, has seen better days. A cursory glance today revealed one section of the fence surrounding it looking like it’s about to collapse.