[ Bengia Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, 4 Sep: Hailing from remote Kurung Kumey district of Arunachal Pradesh, Kipa Ajay recently created history by winning the election for the post of treasurer of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Ajay, who is also the honorary secretary of the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), defeated Andhra Pradesh Football Association president Gopalkrishna Kosaraju by a margin of 33-1 votes and got elected as the new AIFF treasurer.
He is the first from the Northeast region to be elected as treasurer and also the youngest to occupy the position since the AIFF received affiliation from the world football governing body FIFA.
A passionate football enthusiast, Ajay is into his second term as the secretary of the APFA.
Speaking to this daily, Ajay said that his victory “shows that Arunachal Pradesh is very much part of mainstream India these days.
“A few years ago, we could not have imagined an Arunachali becoming a member of a prestigious body like the AIFF. Today I got elected as treasurer with the blessing of football associations of the majority of the states. This shows that the rest of India now trusts the capabilities of Arunachali people,” said Ajay.
He said that the impression that Arunachalis could not become part of major national-level mainstream organisations has been broken with his victory.
The AIFF treasurer also informed that he requested the newly elected AIFF president Kalyan Chaubey “to make Arunachal his first destination for visit after being elected.”
Ajay also assured to work hard for the improvement of football in the state.
“My winning the treasurer’s post is the victory of every Arunachali. I will try my best to use my position to improve the football scenario in the state. Especially will try to bring FIFA projects to the state to try to improve football at the grassroots,” he said.
Regarding the allegation that union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju interfered in the AIFF election process, Ajay termed the allegation wrong.
“It is a fact that the union minister did meet us for around 10 minutes, but he did not campaign, as alleged. Being a former union sports minister, he is passionate about football. He only spoke about football and there was no political talk,” claimed Ajay.
Further, he credited the strong support of the football bodies of the Northeast region for his victory.
“I have worked hard for this day. But without the support of my friends from the NE region, this battle would have been difficult. I won due to their strong support,” he added.