Shillong, May, 19: The Meghalaya Football Association has completed screening in the zones that will host the group stage of the inaugural Meghalaya State Youth League.

The tournament, a long-held dream for the association, will be held in two age categories, for U-14 boys and U-16 boys. The zonal stage will be held in West Garo Hills, West Jaintia Hills, West Khasi Hills and East Khasi Hills on a home and away format, with quarterfinals, semifinals and a grand final to bring the tournament to a fitting conclusion. 

Uniquely for the MFA, this statewide tournament will not be held between clubs but between affiliated district associations, 20 of which are to take part in the inaugural edition. The idea behind this is to use this tournament as a platform to select the youth teams that go on to represent Meghalaya at the national level. 

It will also present the young footballers with a stepping stone to club-level senior football and give Meghalaya one of the strongest football structures in the country.

The age screening was conducted by the MFA in Garo Hills on 14 May and in the other three zones on Saturday. The association is hopeful of a launch date in June with matchdays scheduled largely on Saturdays so as not to interfere with the players’ studies.