Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Soccer-crazy monks throng Palzor Stadium,Gangtok

Gangtok, Oct. 29: Tenzing Chepel, a monk from a monastery here, was seen at Palzor Stadium this afternoon, tension writ large on his face as he watched the Governor’s Gold Cup match between Tibetan National Football Academy (TNFA) XI and IRWDA, Manipur.
“I am not really tense about the result of the match,” said Chepel. “I am worried that my teachers might find out that I have bunked off my monastic classes to come here.”
Chepel is not the only football-crazy monk around, as evident from the many red robes visible in the stands everyday. And quite a few of them miss classes to be here.
“We skipped our prayers from the sheda (monastic school) at Drodul Chorten, Deorali, to watch the match,” said Wangchuk Lama.
The young man added that he and his friends support the team from Bhutan and Tibetan Academy.
After today’s match, won by TNFA XI, the monks were left with a dilemma: whom to support when TNFA XI takes on Bhutan XI in the next round. This is the first time the Dharamsala-based Tibetan Academy has won a match in the Gold Cup.
For Soga Lama of the Rumtek monastery, the choice is simple, for his brother Lobzang Wangyal plays for TNFA XI. The two were meeting after a long time and were seen chatting and taking each other’s photograph after the match .
Sikkim Football Association (SFA) president Tempo Bhutia confirmed that a steady group of monks come to watch Gold Cup matches every year. “If you look closely, you will find quite a large number of monks in the stands,” he said.