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3 foreign clubs, 8 NE teams in T Ao soccer tourney 

GUWAHATI: Clubs from three foreign nations along with teams from all the eight states of the region will vie for top honours at the 2nd Dr T Ao North East International NEC Gold Cup Under-21 Football Championship 2019 here from Tuesday.

The All Nepal Football Academy, KT United (Bhutan) and  Saif Sportng Club from Dhaka will add international colour to the premier soccer meet of the Northeast in the under-21 age group. The meet to be held at the SAI Sports Complex will conclude on February 28.

Apart from hosts Assam, teams from Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura are taking part in the tournament.

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Prize money worth about Rs 15lakh are up for grabs with the champion team pocketing Rs 8lakh while the runners-up team can be richer by Rs 4lakh. The losing semi-finalists will also get a chance to bag Rs 1 lakh each.

Besides, there is prize money to be bagged by the Best Player (Rs 25,000), Best Goalkeeper (Rs 10,000), Most Goal Scorer (Rs 10,000), Best Player in Final (Rs 5,000) along with the Best Players of all the 27 matches (Rs 2000 each).

The teams losing in the group stage will also get Rs 25,000 each as appearance money while the Northeast teams will be given Rs 50,000 each for their preparations.

The North Eastern Council along with the sports department of the Assam government and Oil India Limited are the principal sponsors of the event.

NEC secretary Ram Muivah, along with former greats, Brahmanand, Rennedy Singh, N Kunjarani and Gompe Rime will grace the inaugural ceremony on Tuesday as chief guests.

On the other hand, Assam Governor, Jagdish Mukhi and former Indian football team captain, Bhaichung Bhutia will be present as chief guest and guest of honour respectively during the closing ceremony on February 28.

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