In what can be termed a major milestone in the history of sports administration in the state, honorary secretary of the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), Kipa Ajay, recently got elected as the treasurer of the All India Football Federation (AIFF). He defeated Andhra Pradesh Football Association president Gopalkrishna Kosaraju by a margin of 33-1 votes and got elected as the new AIFF treasurer. It is rare for an Arunachali to win the election to any post in national level bodies. The AIFF is a very prestigious organisation, and Ajay winning the election for the post of treasurer is a massive achievement.
The post of treasurer is considered very powerful and yields massive clout. The victory of Ajay will open doors for the others to dream big. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who was ironically accused of interfering in the AIFF election process, can be credited for improving the image of the state at the national level. His rise to become a member of the union cabinet and an important cabinet minister of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet has changed how the rest of India perceives Arunachalis. The talent and capabilities have been noticed. Football is a very popular sport in the state. However, in comparison to states like Manipur and Mizoram, Arunachal has not produced enough talent at the national level. Gyamar Nikum, who is playing for Rajasthan United FC, is perhaps the only player to make the name of state at the national level. The main reason for this is lack of professionalism and poor standard of coaching at the grassroots level. Ajay should use his influence as AIFF treasurer to improve the football standards at the grassroots. Also, the state needs some good football stadiums. Hope he works on these issues in the coming days.