soccer charity match

Nava Thakuria is a Northeast India journalist, based in Guwahati, who contributes to NewsBlaze and various media outlets throughout the world. Nava is also secretary of the Journalists' Forum Assam.

A soccer charity match between performing artistes who challenged the journalists’ eleven was a high spirited affair. The idea of holding this match came from popular Assamese singer Zubeen Garg, who saw it as a way to raise funds for hundreds of thousands of flood-affected families in Assam.

The media responded favorably to the idea and the match was on!

The northeast Indian state of Assam faces floods every year, as the mighty river Brahmaputra and its tributaries inundate the State’s low-lying areas each monsoon season. The most recent wave of floods claimed the lives of more than 50 people and destroyed crops in 35,000 hectares of agricultural land. Almost one million residents in the districts of Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Morigaon, Golaghat, Sonitpur, Cachar, Nagaon, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Dhubri etc were seriously affected.

The scribes are used to writing about the floods and the devastation and heartache they cause, so they were very pleased to participate in this charity match, to help relieve some of the suffering.

The football match began at 6 pm in the floodlit Nehru stadium in Guwahati on 26 September 2015, and was enjoyed by thousands of football fans in the stadium as well as millions of others through live coverage by local news channels.

The media XI scored five goals. Goalscorers were Banajit Bhuyan, Piter Alex, Sunil Bora, Debashis Mandal and Gautam Sarma. For the artistes XI, the goalscorers were Ajay Phukan, Pabitra Rabha and Pankaj Ingti.

Players for the Artiste XI were led by Zubeen Garg, and included Sasanka Samir, Partha Pratim Goswami, Pradhan Deori, Mahadev Deka, Shekhar Goswami, Achinta Shankar, Rohit Sonar, Hemanta Gogoi, Shiddharth Sarma, Bhaskar Dutta, Hitesh Gogoi, Manash Phukan and Dhanjeet Kalita.

Radio DJ (Sasanka) Samir was judged the best payer of the match.

The Media XI were Atanu Bhuyan, Sanjive Narain, Kishor Talukder, Niloy Bhattacharya, Amarendra Deka, Dasarath Deka, Pitambar Newar, Naba Pegu, Dhruba Mahanta, Siddhartha Sankar Deka, Dhiren Sarma, Hitesh Deka, Anupam Chakrabarty, Tibra Bairagi, Prasanta Dutta, Kumud Talukder, Partha Chakrabarty, Vicky Das, Sibanu Bora and Mukul Kalita.

Senior television journalist Pranay Bordoloi captained the media team, formulated by the Electronic Media Forum Assam with media persons from both print and electronic media.

Senior sports journalist Subodh Malla Barua was the coach and environment journalist Nava Thakuria the team manager of Media XI.

Ticket sales and football fan donations generated more than one lakh Indian rupees. Moreover, the media team donated the championship prize money of 20,000 rupees for the benefit of flood victims. The Guwahati based Dispur Hospital also joined the mission extending free of cost emergency medical services to the players.