SHILLONG, June 13 � Whether it�s too much politics in sports or less sportsmanship in politics, sports lovers would be the ultimately losers if Shillong Lajong fails to play next season�s I-league, despite qualification.
Officials from the I-league have given two months� time to the local sports authorities to mend the infrastructure here or Lajong will forfeit their claim to feature in the top league. The Government says it is helpless.
Minister in-charge of sports, Bindo Lanong and also the vice- president of the Shillong Sports Association (SSA) is accused of being a spoilsport in Lajong�s effort to feature in the I-league.
One of the prerequisite is to have in place a good ground. The home ground of Shillong Lajong � Jawaharlal Nehru Sports� complex � has deteriorated mainly because of poor maintenance and hosting of myriad events at the venue. In fact, the SSA is still holding its U-19 premier league at the JN complex.
Apart from SSA, the Meghalaya Football Association hosts football events. MFA president is former urban affairs minister and KHNAM leader, Paul Lyngdoh and secretary, L Ming, promoter of Shillong Lajong. It�s apparent that the two associations don�t get along very well.
�In two month�s time with this weather nothing much can be done,� Lanong said, while promising that in a year�s time an astroturf of about Rs 6 crore would be laid at the JN complex provided funds are available.
Instead, he blamed the MFA for not being proactive. �Last time they hired experts and constructed the ground with grass from outside. Seems the grass is not suitable for the present weather condition of our State,� Lanong observed.
Lanong moreover said his appeal to the MFA to come together and discuss issues has met with no response. �Don�t you think it was a positive response when we said let�s put our heads together? There has been no response from the MFA so far,� Lanong said.