The presence of clubs from Taplejung, Panchthar and Ilam districts of Mechi Hills in the ongoing state 1 district level knockout football tournament in Itahari has been weak. Three clubs from these three districts had participated as league winners. Manbhara Sporting Club from Taplejung, Rising Star Football Club from Panchthar and Red Harsh Football Club from Ilam competed. However, the participation of the league winning clubs of Mechi Hills district in the competition has been limited to participation only. Rising Star Football Club, the league winner of the inaugural match in Panchthar, was forced to return home from the first match. Panchthar lost 2-0 to Udayapur Fusion Football Club in a match played at Itahari Stadium last Thursday. Panchthar, who scored in the third minute of the match, could not even return the goal.
After losing to Baskila Football Club of Khotang in Tribeca on Friday, Manbhara Sporting Club of Taplejung was also eliminated from the competition. Manbhara Sporting Club lost 4-2 to Tribeca. In the third quarterfinal match played on Sunday, Red Harsh Football Club of Ilam lost 1-0 to league champion Deurali Football Club of Dhankuta. With the withdrawal of Ilam’s Red Horse Football Club from the competition, the journey of Mechi Hill Clubs to the state 1 district level knockout football tournament has come to an end. “The players here don’t get a chance to play in big tournaments and it is difficult for the players playing in small stadiums to play in big stadiums,” said Tamang.
Darshan Bhaktaraj of Ilam, who is also the head coach of the U-18 team, agrees with Tamang. He said that the team would be weakened even if the team had to be collected and taken to a competition in a hilly district where there was no continuous set. He said that the news of the Itahari tournament was delayed and Najita was not in favor even though there was no time for practice. The winner of the competition will get Rs 200,000 and the runner-up will get Rs 100,000.