In Pics: Half-Day in Mizoram to Celebrate Aizawl FC’s Victory

The homecoming of Aizawl FC on 1 May was just the beginning of victory celebrations in the capital of Mizoram.

After making history as the first Northeastern I-League champions, AFC received a warm welcome at home on Monday, with the government announcing a half-day so that residents could join in the celebrations.

The victory parade started from Lengui Airport and marched till Lammual, where the Mizoram Football Association had organised a function for the champions.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)
(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

Mizoram had won the 2014 Santosh Trophy and 2015 National Games Football, however Aizawl FC’s I-League feat is a dream that came sooner than expected.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

When a dream becomes reality, then even words cannot define the moment the way the crowds can. Even though the hardcore supporters who witnessed I-League grand finale live did not reach Aizawl in time, the champions of India got a hero’s welcome from a fully packed Mizo crowd.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

When Alfred was suspended for the I-League final match, Mizo defender Zohmingliana Ralte wore the captains armband against his former club Shillong Lajong. The defender who scored a winning goal against Mohun Bagan said:

I used to dream of a day like this, and now it happens. It is so unreal; I was still pinching myself last night to check whether it’s real or not. And if it’s only a dream, I didn’t want to wake up from this.

Zohmingliana Ralte during the celebrations. (Photo: Lawm Kima Tlau)
(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

Jayesh Rane one of the key members of the squad said:

I have won Indian Super League with Chennaiyin FC, but couldn’t have a grand celebration then because of the flood. This one is special, it looks like a festival. Everyone is enjoying it.

Jayesh Rane during the celebrations. (Photo: Lawm Kima Tlau)

Captain Alfred Kemah Jaryan said:

This is the best thing that has happened in my career.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

Hired by the club right before the start of the season, coach Khalid Jamil was a very important factor that led to Aizawl FC's win.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

Aizawl FC were relegated after finishing eight last season, but included in the league after some big teams pulled out before the start of the tournament.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

The man behind the success of football in the state, Mizoram Football Association honorary secretary Lalnghinglova Hmar made a wonderful speech.

To God be the glory. Mizoram are the champions of India. In 2014, Mizoram won Santosh Trophy, then won gold medal at the National Games a year later. Now, Aizawl FC have won the I-League and it’s an unbelievable achievement. But we should not stop here. We are here because the whole Mizoram works together — to maintain our level or to reach further, we need to stick together,” said Hmar as he tried to hold back tears.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

Wearing a 2014 Santosh Trophy and 2015 National Games champions jersey, he removed his jersey to show his Aizawl FC home colour which read ‘Champions of India’.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)

As the sun went down and the floodlights came on, the crowds put their cell phone flashlights on and raised their hands above the head.

(Photo: Lal Zarzova)