SHILLONG, March 3 � Somewhere in the Eastern skies, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is engaged in an intense war game called �Pralay� under a controlled environment, but in the real game under a harsh environment, the IAF was defeated fair and square here today.
The IAF men were no match for a bunch of determined villagers who bombarded the Men in Blue in a friendly football match with two goals to nothing.
The match was the first of its kind held to �narrow the trust deficit� between the IAF and local villagers, which has its Eastern sector headquarters here at Upper Shillong.
The team of villagers were called the Kings-IX with the Syiem (traditional chief) of Mylliem, Latho Manik Syiem as its patron. The IAF team was called the Air Force Station Laitkor-IX. Laitkor Station Commander, Group Captain, Sanjay Misra, was there to witness the match.
The players descended on the playground, which also doubles as a helipad. The elevated ground was situated near the Lumlyear village, which in local dialect means �windy village�.
The peek-a-boo of the Sun behind the clouds, and the gusty nippy wind at 6000 feet above the sea level was no ordinary environment for a game of football and definitely not recommended for the faint hearted.
At times the wind threatened to uproot the makeshift tents erected for the dignitaries. The radar, which keeps a constant vigil of the entire Eastern sky, was a witness to these episodes.
The IAF men in their traditional navy blue jerseys and the Kings-IX, rightly in golden yellow jerseys, scratched it out and understandably the match did not reach stratospheric heights in terms of skill display.
But the Kings-IX displayed better skills and composure and scored twice in each half of the game to win the match. Local villagers who came at the venue to cheer their boys were ecstatic.
Syiem said that the friendly football match was a good initiative from the IAF to build goodwill amongst the villagers. �There were some issues, but those are a thing of the past. This football match is a good initiative to move forward and build goodwill amongst villagers and the IAF,� he said at a post-match prize distribution ceremony.
Local legislator Ardent Basiawmoit, who spearheaded several agitations against the IAF in the past, also had similar view. He said that there is need for more interactions between the IAF and the villagers so that �trust and respect� is mutually built and both benefits.
Group Captain Mishra said the IAF�s motive was not in wining the match, but to �win the trust and goodwill� of the villagers � and to an extent he succeeded. �We want to narrow the trust deficit between the villagers and the IAF and we would continue to work in that direction,� he affirmed.