Along with their love for football, Mizoram also boasts a huge following for basketball and even has its own league named as Mizoram Super League (MSL). This league is known to basketball lover, especially in the Northeast region. This league is ahead in terms of competition as well as entertainment.
Mizoram has been going ahead in terms of sports in the country and has many footballers coming out from this part of the country. This is the sole reason for getting all the attention of the country. This league is owned by Zonet who also owns the football league name Mizoram Premier League.
Initial Phase of Mizoram Super League
After having a successful home-grown professional football league, Mizoram gained prominence to win the Santosh Trophy title and along the same lines, the officials are now trying to popularise basketball.
The Mizoram Basketball Association (MBBA) signed an agreement with Zonet Cable TV Pvt Ltd to invent a professionally managed league that had started in mid-February 2015, the clubs and registration were completed in the same year.
The agreement was signed by Chalrosanga, the president of MBBA and Vanneihtluanga, the director of Zonet as he agreed on behalf of his company that he will invest Rs 20 lakh to organize the Mizoram Super League for the first five years, while MBBA is handling technical aspects and any extra financial undertakings.
T Lalnunpuia who is an Indian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Aizawl in the I-League has put in efforts to form MSL. Like the MPL, the MSL followed strict criteria for competing clubs, including financial contracts with all players and allowed clubs to recruit foreign players as well as players from other Indian states.
Objectives of Mizoram Super League
Zonet believes that basketball is a growing sport and is going to be very popular among the youth of Mizoram. MBBA, known as The Mizoram Basketball Association has been doing really well in developing the sport. They perceived that they could organize a big basketball tournament which will have a positive impact on Mizoram Basketball.
The state government of Mizoram also played a vital role with full energy by developing the infrastructure of basketball. The main objectives that MSL kept in their primary list were that, they wanted to improve and develop the standard of basketball in Mizoram. They even wanted to encourage youth to play the sports and entertain viewers. Lastly, they wanted basketball to be a profession in which basketball players and officials would receive salaries.
Many players in the MSL have amazing talent and skill, the league has given them an outlet to shine and the infrastructure. The quality of players is as good (or even better) as the UBA, but the popularity of the MSL hasn’t reached the national level, and by working on it they will secure one of their objectives.
Difficulties faced by the Mizoram Super League
As we all hear on a regular basis, that a story takes place in Indian sports that a sports person faces difficulty in support and sponsors. They manage their own funds and make their way to international championships. If you think that was hard, just take a look at Mizoram’s basketball team. Every member of the team had to book his own flight to Chennai for the 68th National Basketball Championships and pay for their accommodation.
Most of the Mizoram’s Basketball team players are studying and do not have a regular source of income. Even though they computed their own investment, it was worth it.
“The certificates and exposure from playing in a national tournament can make a huge difference to their futures. Some of them show interest in being coaches and it might help them with the NIS coaching courses,” Zomuanpuia, finance secretary of the Mizoram Basketball Association (MBBA) told Indian Express.
Action in Mizoram Superleague
Watching the Mizoram team in action is interesting. They look half as tall as the rest of the teams. However, H. Lalhruaitluanga, the coach, said he is not worried. “We turn the disadvantage into an advantage.”
The state was in focus as Aizawl FC won the I-League last year. Even otherwise, all the states from the north-east are known for their love for football and quality players that they produce. Football still remains Mizoram’s favorite sport according to Lalhruaitluanga. But slowly, basketball is picking up too.
The kids of the north-east state are being helped by the local league to live their dream as they are being provided with facilities and infrastructure which they could have never imagined. And this is not the end, the matches are regularly telecasted by Zonet who also invests a lot of money to promote the league.
“Mizoram Super League is the reason why basketball is so popular. It is one of the most well-attended basketball leagues in the country. Players like Amritpal Singh and Rikin Pethani are part of the league. We are representing Mizoram as we are the champions of the league. Mizoram Basketball Association (MBBA) asked us if we can represent the state and we thought that the challenge will be good for the boys,” said Lalhruaitluanga.
“The game is very popular these days. Since the start of the league, three years back, a lot of youngsters have come up and expressed their interest. I was taking care of the U-14 team and when we announced selection trials a few months back, around 200 students turned up,” he added.
He is meeting with Basketball Federation of India (BFI) officials to try and host the prestigious Federation Cup next year. If that goes according to plan, Mizo players won’t have to waste their money to book flights.
Future of Mizoram Super League
MSL will definitely grow as youths are taking a huge interest in basketball. If they work according to their goals and prioritize their objectives Mizoram will achieve better heights and will have an impact at the national and international level.
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