After I-League win, Aizawl FC fans clean up Shillong stadium, win hearts
Aizawl FC’s fairytale journey to the I-League title sent the eight-state Northeast – a region used to the underdog tag – into a frenzy. But the team’s fans, mostly from Mizoram, won more hearts with their version of ‘swachh mission’.
Soon after the Aizawl FC-Shillong Lajong match ended at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Meghalaya capital Shillong on Sunday, the Mizo fans went about collecting and disposing of the trash left behind by some 23,000 spectators.
Their gesture did not go unnoticed.
“Thank you Aizawl football fans for cleaning the trash after the match yesterday at Polo (area where the football stadium is). This speaks volumes of your attitude. We, the rest, should learn from them,” said RG Lyngdoh, former deputy chief minister of Meghalaya.
Shillong-based retired IAS officer Toki Blah said: “Please allow me to join in commending the civic spirited fans of Aizawl FC. Thank you for cleaning. Future of Mizoram lies in safe hands.”
H Hamkhein Morhmen, a social activist from Jowai in Meghalaya, felt the Mizos taught others a lesson in cleanliness. “And we are learning,” he said.
Others took to Twitter to acknowledge the fans’ effort. “Salute! Civic sense and sanitation across Mizoram very highly commendable,” said Omar Resilient Shadap.
Some, like Marchborn Syiem, said the attitude of the Mizo fans made them fans of Aizawl FC.
“Aizawl FC has won the trophy, but the team’s fans won our hearts,” said activist Rongkhang Sarpo Kronjang.
Cleanliness, though, was not on display after Aizawl FC hosted the crucial I-League match against Mohun Bagan at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on April 22.
Some 5,000 fans that saw the home team inch closer to the title after beating Mohun Bagan 1-0, had left behind a lot of trash.
“The stadium staff cleaned the stands two-three days later. Maybe, the fans did not carry their trash back because it was raining heavily after the match that day,” Peter Lalzawmliana of Mizoram Football Association (MFA) told HT.
Meanwhile, Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla congratulated Aizawl FC for winning the I-League. The chief minister, who had represented Mizoram (it was then a district of Assam) in football in the 1960s, is the president of MFA.
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