Ex-Nigerian player acts as referee in jail |
GUWAHATI, Sept 12 - A former Nigerian striker and coach along with a bunch of skilful soccer players have recently scripted history! Not for winning any international football title though. But, for being the first ones to have participated in a football match series organised in the jail premises ever in Assam.
As part of the reformation initiative of the jail superintendent Dilip Saikia and the Prisons Department, the match featured convicts and undertrials of different cases. Henry Oja Kelechi, the Nigerian coach in question is a former club level player of his country who had even participated in a number of soccer leagues in Assam before being detained and convicted for overstaying in India under the Passport Act. “Kelechi played the role of a referee in all the matches between various teams of Golaghat jail prisoners which were as gripping as it can get and we enjoyed them a lot, especially the final match played on September 6. It was a treat to watch”, said one of the member of the audience. This is arguably for the first time that such an initiative has been taken for jail inmates in Assam.
MLA Mrinal Saikia too witnessed the event and had a few words of encouragement to share with the inmates. He also gave away cash awards to the teams and players. A senior official at Dispur said that such events to facilitate better environment inside the jails and to make the entire system reformation based, such initiatives would be taken from time to time from now onwards.