Chin soccer tournament against churches


Fibi kim

SHS graduate Cross Thu Chuanga from Mizo Christian Church plays against Indiana Chin Baptist Church on Aug. 15, 2015.

Everyone can hear the screaming and shouting voices of the crowd rooting for their teams. The time of the year has come where Chin people gather as a community and have soccer tournaments. Called Indiana Chin Youth Church Fellowship (ICYCF), the tournament usually starts at the beginning of summer break in June, and ends around the end of July or the start of August every year.

This tournament is where most of the Chin churches come together and play matches against other churches. The teams participating in the tournament includes Falam churches, Hakha churches, Lautu churches and Zophei churches.

“The tournament was made because Chin people love soccer,” said Mr. Andy Kap, one of the players this year. “We want to create events that brings people together as a fellowship and we want to make sure that all kids hang out with other kids from different backgrounds and churches.”

It becomes bigger and bigger every year with more people participating, according to Kap. It takes a long time for players to get ready for the game and for everything to be set. Most of the players are in high school so they practice around the end of spring. Each team would practice every day for 2-3 hours, whether it is really hot outside or even if it is raining outside. There are from 10-14 teams that play in the tournament almost every year. All Chin churches are invited to play in the tournament, but not every single one of them participate.

There is a first place, a second place and a third place. The winner, every year, gets a trophy and medals for the players. There are also trophies for most goals, best striker, best goalkeeper and best player.

Senior Bawi Phutin is one of the players from Indiana Chin Baptist Church(ICBC).

“We won the championship because we had teamwork and we have many good players in our team,” Phutin said. “From the start, our goal was to get first place and in order to do that, we all had to respect our coach and respect each other.”

According to Kap, contrary to the people who supported the tournaments, there were also some people who didn’t. Some elder people and pastors believe that it is too intense and too serious so sometimes the players would forget that it is for the fellowship. The tournament was made for a friendly game in the first place, so they don’t want it to get too intense against each team.

However, Kap says that they don’t forget the fellowship part, and if they don’t have this there aren’t many other activities that have people getting together and getting involved, socializing and hanging out. He also says that it is a good activities for the youth, because they get to be more involved and make new friends rather than just staying at home.

Many Chin students from SHS and Perry Meridian participate in the tournament. Those students that played had to play against their friends. After they finished their games, they would watch their friends’ games and cheer for them. The winning team would usually have a gathering at a house, barbeque party or have a prayer service.

Sophomore Lal Hngak Thang, who plays soccer for SHS and Falam Baptist Church of Indiana(FBCI), says he’s really excited about this year’s tournament. He says that friends can become enemies in the field, and no matter how close they are are to each other, they will have to fight for the champion title.

“There is no friend in a competition,” Thang said. “You have to be really competitive even though they are your friends because we all want to win first place and we all want to be the best no matter what happens.”