By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 9 Aug: The Tibetan men’s national football team got knocked out of CONIFA Asia Cup following two subsequent losses at the group stage despite a competitive game under the unfortunate circumstances of eight players’ absence.
Team Tibet’s loss to Hmong FF (5-4) and Tamil Eelam FA (3-1) with a depleted squad in the group stage of the tournament robbed it of the chance to move ahead in the tournament.
The CONIFA, the Confederation of Independent Football Associations with professed core values of Peace, Sustainability and Humanity organise football tournaments across the world, open for all associations outside FIFA. The CONIFA Asia Cup 2023 was held in Lisbon, Portugal with only three teams participating.
Team Tibet lost both matches, with a score of 5-4 against the Hmong FF team and 3-1 against Tamil Eelam FA on 5th and 6th August respectively.
The Tibetan team is comprised of players living in different countries such as the US, Canada, France, Switzerland, Australia, and India.
Eight Tibetan national players from India holding Identity Card (IC) were unable to depart India to join the Team in Portugal due to visa entry complications.
Following this exit from the tournament, Team Tibet will now embark on a Europe Football trip.
Though Tibetans are enthusiastic about the game of football with much fanfare during the largest Tibetan sporting event of Gyalyum Chenmo Memorial Cup, the standard of the game has seen little improvement over the years. It is largely due to a lack of resources, sport-focused investment and awareness about it in the Tibetan community.
However, steps toward the betterment of sport-centred education and facilities are being undertaken. Tongtsen Football Academy has been opened in Dehradhun by the Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA), the Tibetan governmental organization that oversees sporting events such as the GCM Cup and the selection of Tibetan National Team players.