One of the most popular football leagues in the country, the Mizoram Premier League is back on the sporting calendar for the 2018 season. On Friday, Mizoram sports minister Zodintluanga kicked off the league for seven successive seasons. The first match will take place on September 6 in Aizawl.
The league, which has been the nursery for several Mizo footballers over the years, will see eight clubs in the competition with current champions Chhinga Veng FC, Aizawl FC, Bethlehem Vengthlang FC, Chanmari FC, Electric Veng FC, Mizoram Police, Ramhlun North FC and newly promoted club Chawnpui FC all battling for the coveted trophy.
Speaking on the occasion, Zodintluanga praised the efforts of Mizoram Football Association. “The state government can help better facilities and improve infrastructure. But besides this, there are lots on the sporting side to be done and I would like to thank the MFA for their incredible work,” he said.
“Be it in Santosh Trophy, National Games or I-League, we’ve won all the football championship trophies and that is the result of the well-structured Mizoram Premier League,” he added.
Mizoram Premier League, for the first time in its history will play the league matches in the district capital of Kolasib and Serchhip, besides the main venue in Lammual, Aizawl.
“As the name suggest, MPL is a league for the Mizo people and we wanted to broaden its reach as much as we can,” said Lalnghinglova Hmar, the honorary secretary of Mizoram Football Association.
Known as ‘the football factory of Indian football’, the eight Mizoram Premier League teams will face each other twice in the league round with the top four teams qualifying for the semifinals, which will be played in a double legged with the final scheduled to take place on December 7.
Ticket prices for league rounds will be Rs 30, Rs 50 for the semi-finals while the final will be Rs 100. Students wearing school uniforms and citizens above the age of 65 will gain free entry to the games that will take place every Thursday and Friday.
Hoping to steer Mizoram football to new heights, the Mizoram Football Association, in 2012, signed a broadcasting rights with Zonet Cable T V Pvt. Ltd. worth Rs. 1.25 crore and started the new Mizoram Premier League in the same year. In 2017, they signed a new five-year deal worth Rs.1.5 crore with the television channel.