Senior Women's Football Championship: Rain plays spoilsport in Arunachal Pradesh, injuries pile up

Games were played on waterlogged and muddy grounds, contributing to injuries and leaving the players in despair.

The rain came as a dampener, especially as people were warming up to the tournament.   -  special arrangement

The Senior Women’s National Football Championship got off to a dreadful start on September 10 as heavy rainfall damaged the grounds in Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh.

Games were played on waterlogged and muddy grounds, contributing to injuries and leaving the players in despair. The rain came as a dampener, especially as people were warming up to the tournament. 

Arunachal Pradesh Football Association secretary Ajay Kipa said the rainfall was unexpected. “Generally, it doesn’t rain during September in Arunachal Pradesh. We had been worked on getting the ground ready for three months. Till September 8, the sun was out. It started raining suddenly from September 8 evening and hasn’t stopped.”

Arunachal Pradesh Football Association secretary Ajay Kipa said the rainfall was unexpected.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Kipa said the grounds have natural grass. "If three matches are played continuously in continuous rainfall - how can we fix that?”On the opening day, three matches were played at the College of Horticulture & Forest (CHF) stadium, while the fourth was held at the Pasighat stadium. The CHF stadium ground was ruined after the downpour.

A day after the match, Karnataka captain Tanvie Hans tweeted her disappointment. “Heartbroken by the conditions we are being asked to play in. I would be, even if we won,” she wrote. Karnataka lost 0-5 to Bihar. The downpour continued on the second day and even the Pasighat stadium ground became muddy, making it difficult for players to move the ball around.

Delhi captain Jyoti Ann Burrett said the playing conditions were terrible. "I have played for 10 years now and I don’t think I have ever played on a worse ground at any level,” she told Sportstar.

Delhi lost 1-4 to Himachal Pradesh in its opener, and also suffered a setback with injuries to three players. Burrett said the poor ground conditions were to blame for the injuries. India international Anushka Samuel injured her knee, Nidhi Sri sprained her ankle, and Deepika Ventakesh got stitches on her face after a fall.

Tamil Nadu, which played before Delhi at the Pasighat stadium, too faced trouble. “The playing conditions aren’t ideal. On the day of our match, water had accumulated on the ground. It was very difficult to play,” said Tamil Nadu captain Karthika A, whose team beat Chhattisgarh 5-0.

The wet conditions also forced teams to change their tactics.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

The wet conditions also forced teams to change their tactics. “We had to play in a water-filled ground as the water hadn’t dried out (until kick-off). The ball wasn’t moving well,” said Tamil Nadu head coach Nivedha R.

“It made things difficult for us because we had planned to play touches. We had to change our tactics of playing from the flanks for scoring.”

Delhi’s Jyoti shared a similar sentiment. “The game strategies have been thrown out of the window. You cannot pass or run with the ball because the ball is getting stuck in the mud.”

After ground conditions worsened at the Pasighat stadium, matches were shifted to Independent Golden Jubilee Government High School (IGJ) ground. The playing conditions have improved since the opening day but the rainfall continues.

Nivedha rued that the weather had played spoilsport. “It is a good initiative to organise the tournament in Arunachal Pradesh because the state has been improving at the junior level. Also, the spectator support is very unexpected. They are ready to pay for tickets and attend every game.

“Weather is the only concern. Players can adjust, but the weather is spoiling everything here,” she said.

NFC matches shifted

Due to untimely incessant rainfall at Pasighat, the Local Organising Committee (State Association) have shifted all matches of the ongoing Senior Women’s National Football Championship to three alternate grounds.

The Championship would now be played at the Indira Gandhi Golden High School, Kiyit Secondary School, and Daying Ering Football Stadium, Nari. While the Indira Gandhi Ground is in Pasighat itself, the other two are 45 minutes away from Pasighat. In fact, the Indira Gandhi Golden High School ground has been hosting matches from Friday (September 13) itself.

All the three grounds have been duly inspected by the Match Commissioners, Referees and Referee Assessors.

 

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