Chandigarh: Khalsa Football Club (Khalsa FC), a registered non-profit sports organization, in association with Global Sikh Sports Federation, is organizing first Sikh Football Cup under FIFA rules in Punjab and Chandigarh for Keshadhari (Unshorn hairs & beard) players from January 30.
Disclosing this Khalsa FC president Harjeet Singh Grewal, state awardee, said this football cup has been dedicated to 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Earlier it was slated to be held from November 23 to December 8 but due to some major events during this period now it will be held from January 30 to February 8 in various districts,
He said "Our prime objective is to encourage the Punjabi youth to engage in sports as 'Keshadhari' (Sabat-soorat) sportspersons and to regain the sheen lost in the past, which was once reigned by Punjabis in sports".
Khalsa FC president said the Keshadhari teams in all 22 districts of Punjab and Chandigarh have already been selected during series of trials during first week of November in which more than 2200 sabat-soorat footballers have enthusiastically participated to select district level teams in 23 different football stadiums of Punjab and Chandigarh. These Keshadhari teams would play matches at various football grounds of Punjab and Chandigarh during inter-district tournaments on the knock-out basis. The final match and closing ceremony would be held at Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar stadium on February 8, added Grewal.
Revealing the upcoming plans Grewal informed that the Khalsa FC would select its Sabat-soorat team during this week long mega event. This elite team would play matches with prominent teams in India as well as football clubs in different countries.
Elaborating more football promoter Grewal mentioned that this unique 'Keshadhari' event would promote Punjabi culture and Sikh identity consciousness worldwide thereby initiating efforts to avert racial attacks on Sikhs under the guise of mistaken identity. In addition to this, it would also be instrumental in weaning away the youth from drug abuse besides channelizing their unbounded energy into sports activities so as to enable the budding players to enhance their carrier as sportsperson of national as well as international fame, he added.
Khalsa FC chief further informed that the winners and runner-up teams including their coaches would be honoured with awards carrying cash prizes during the Sikh Football Cup. The participating teams would also get travelling allowance, certificates besides sports kits, jerseys and track suits free of cost.