Not having a ‘Field Day’

The receding of monsoon usually signals the start of several sporting events, the most prominent being football, in Nagaland.


Several tournaments, both at District and State level, are concurrently in progress at present. The cycle will typically continues till the onset of the spring season.


While the proceedings are eagerly participated and witnessed, the conditions of the sporting arena, are always a big dampener for the fan as well as the players.


It is in this context when the “Youth Affairs & Sports” section the newly formed People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government, setting the agenda for governance, assured that “a new Nagaland State Sports Policy” within 100 days of power in March, it was welcomed positively, albeit with certain degree of cynicism.


The cynics were right. June 16 marked the 100 days of completion of the deadline and when updated with the government, an official in the Youth Resources & Sports Department then told The Morung Express that “the drafting of the ‘Sports Policy’ is complete, only awaiting review and approval of the government.”


Without giving a timetable about its likely public announcement, the official said that “Procedure has to take its course. It is in process. The file is on the move.”


Not to be outdone, Youth Resources & Sports Advisor responding to a query regarding the status of the promised ‘Sports Policy’ claimed that it is almost done “almost done and it won’t take a month before it gets announced.”


Three months have elapsed since the ‘100 days’ yet teh ‘proverbial’ Sports Policy is yet to see the light of the day.


In the intervening period, while the foundation for the Dr. T. Ao Regional Sports Academy was launched, nothing much moved beyond the huge controversy created by the over the procedure adopted for selection to Dr. T. Ao State Sports Awards’ and some public relation exercise during the FIFA World Cup 2018.


Incidentally, the manifesto of the PDA’s main constituent – Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) – had promised moon for the sports in the state. Among others, it talked about establishing an exclusive Police Sports Battalion, a full-fledged Sports Academy in addition to the Dr. T. Ao Regional Sports Academy, Sports Scholarship Scheme, artificial football turfs and floodlit stadiums and pursuing the establishment of a Sports University.


The promotion of games of sports will be one of the thrust areas of the new government, the Chief Minister had pledged while the PDA’s Common Minimum Programme (CMP) had also “outlined to make a special emphasis to develop sports and youth affairs with more modern infrastructure and appropriate administrative measures especially focusing on the districts including provision of artificial turf.”


Given the pace at which the policy implementations are proceedings in the state, however, sports seem to be the last thing on the mind.


Lacks of infrastructures and thought-out policy have been listed as primary causes of poor sporting nation or state.


Lack of clarity, vision, and alacrity from the government, however, has ensured that the players and coaches are de-motivated, deprived and disillusioned, as they slug it out on the ground – the guaranteed ‘state of art infrastructures’ only in papers and words.


It’s time the government ‘declares’ the game open and allow the players to have a ‘field day’ in the sporting arena.