Loyem Memorial Trophy: A respite from daily struggles in Tuensang


BY | Friday, 27 October, 2023

During the early 90s, in the midst of the prevailing tense situation in Tuensang, the erstwhile Chang Students Conference (now Chang Wedoshi Setshang) leaders decided to start an initiative in order to instill coherence through games and sports by actively involving the youth in bringing them together under one platform to expose their talents. It was with this vision that the Loyem Memorial Trophy was borne.

“Loyem Memorial Trophy possess a position as one of the oldest running trophy in Tuensang Nagaland,” says Langasomba Chang, Vice President, CWS.

Named after the renowned Chang Leader, Loyem Chang, who was the head DB of the Tuensang Headquarter, the Loyem Memorial Trophy is held every year drawing crowds from diverse quarters in Tuensang and teams from various districts in Nagaland.

Photo: Loyem Chang

According to the CWS, Loyem was a pioneer, a leader and an intellectual ahead of his time, among the Chang Nagas who is also considered the founder of Tuensang Town. Loyem was the father of Late. Changkong Chang, former MLA and also the grandfather of former MLA from Tuensang Sadar-1, Toyang Chang.

In the year 1992, the CWS approached the Deputy Commissioner Tuensang to organize a football tournament by the title Chang Students Conference Trophy. However, at that time the district administration had already banned societies or group to organise any events due to the prevailing law and order situation in the town. It was with the help of Late Changkong Chang, former minister and son of Loyem Chang, who appealed to the District Sports Council headed by Deputy Commissioner Tuensang to organise the trophy.  Finally, in collaboration the Loyem Memorial Trophy came into existence in the year 1992. In the first tournament, Late Changkong Chang helped in organising the tournament, after which the Chang Students Conference were given the responsibility to organise the Trophy from then on.

Since then, the Chang Wedoshi Setshang has been organising the Loyem Memorial Trophy every year till its 30th Edition. Following the formation of Chang Sports Association in 2022, the CWS has collaborated with the Association.

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Speaking to Nagaland Tribune, a spectator of the Memorial Trophy (who prefered to remain anonymous) who has been watching Loyem Tournament since its inception says, “The organisers particularly has been actively involved in bringing up the players and with this kind of football edition every year, football lovers are increasing and so is the competition. Football has been a source of income and a gain for those players who has been dropped out of school. With this sport, opportunity seems to increase and it will pave a way for them to earn their livelihood by performing in the district followed by the State.”

The spectator also claims that this year much improvement has been witnessed among the players, which he attributes to the astro turf ground. Further, the tournament has attracted teams from other districts as well as outside the State to participate which helps in providing a progressive competition where the emerging young players can also learn from the experienced players.

For the spectator, one team that has gained popularity in this year’s tournament has been the Vetao Ayie FC which has a representation of each tribe in Nagaland among the players.

“All the players are from one particular tribe and almost all their players are young and vigilant with super flex and unending stamina. It’s such a pleasure to watch this young players perform,” views the spectator.

The spectator, however rues that the team participation has been very less this year comparing to the previous year’s edition, which also draws lesser crowds.

“But we are seeing many promising young players  especially in team Vetao Ayie FC and Tiaren FC,” adds the spectator.

More than just a game: A respite from struggles

“Loyem Memorial Trophy aims for youth empowerment through games and encourage the youngsters to have a sound mind and athletic personality. It also aims in developing friendship ties through the games,” affirms the CWS.

While the CWS objectives of youth empowerment has been maintained, over the years the Memorial Trophy has meant more than just that especially for the football fans and spectators in Tuensang.

Another spectators views that the Loyem football tournament holds social significance in Tuensang  whereby it provides an escape and distraction for those struggling with substance abuse. “Some drug addicts use the tournament as a temporary escape from their addiction. It provides a distraction and helps them focus on something positive, which is a welcome respite from their struggles,” says the observer.

The spectator also maintains that watching a football tournament can also offer a sense of connection with others. “It provides a common topic of conversation and a way to bond with friends or family who are watching a match. And it often comes with intense emotional highs and lows. This emotional rollercoaster serve as a temporary substitute from those trying to escape from depression, anxiety and suicidal thought,” the spectator asserts.

Running in its 31st edition this year, the Loyem Memorial Trophy has amplified unity through sports, and an empowerment of young Naga players. However, this year’s apt theme, ‘Soar high in Sports rather than Drugs’ provides a glimpse of a State reeling under increasing substance abuse among its young. And perhaps, tournaments like the Loyem Memorial Trophy might provide an answer.


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