Tetea Hmar, member of the Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), while speaking recently with Arunava Chaudhari on Mizoram and Indian football, spoke glowingly about the people he has gotten to work with in Mizo football.
While Hmar is a man synonymous with Mizoram football, he believes that various other people work harder than him but are yet to come out and speak to the media, hence the lack of recognition.
The Mirozam Football League began in 2012 and has become extremely successful for the local community and the national side. Several Indian players have gone on to play in the Indian Super League after succeeding at the local level in Mizoram. Players like Jeje Lalpekhlua, Lallinzuala Chhangte, Apuia and many more have come from the north-eastern state and are considered some of the biggest talents of their respective generations.
From providing opportunities for youngsters to going toe-to-toe with Bundesliga clubs like Hoffenheim to bringing home the Santosh Trophy in 2014/15, Mizoram football has indeed offered its players the opportunity to make their mark on Indian football. Local club Aizwal FC even won the I-League in 2017, which was a sign of the years of hard work put into Mizoram football.
Hmar also adds the importance of grassroots in the overall development of Mizoram football. Although he believes there is a lack of licensed coaches in the state, several other factors favour Mizoram football. According to him, there needs to be an improvement in coach education by providing a more significant number of courses to help the grassroots system. The Mizoram footballing community is also looking to work towards developing women’s football along with grassroots football.
“The Government is also heavily spending heavily along with the Tata trust to develop Mizoram grassroots football,” says Hmar about the system at the grassroots level. The Mizoram Football Association is also a partner in this system, providing maximum support for youth football development.