ZIRO, Jun 29: Lower Subansiri deputy commissioner Vivek H P emphasized the unifying power of sports, particularly team events like football, which he described as beneficial for society, sportsmanship, and athletes.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the 57th Central Dree Festival Celebration and Ziro Football Tournament at Padi Yubbe Outdoor Stadium here on Saturday, the DC commended the massive turnout, unprecedented for the valley, showcasing football's popularity and the professionalism it entails.

"The thousands gathered here today surpass even our Independence and Republic Day celebrations. This underscores football's promotion and the enthusiasm of players and fans alike," he said.

Acknowledging the successful organization of the tournament by team CDFC Ziro, the DC extended his wishes for a joyful 'Happy Dree' to all Apatani residents of the district.

Puna Hinda, guest of honour and managing director of PH Constructions, highlighted football as a central attraction in the valley, drawing people from every village and the twin townships of Old Ziro and Hapoli.

"The Dree football fever grips everyone in the valley, uniting players and spectators alike," he said.

CDFC Ziro chairman Nani Tani announced plans to include badminton alongside football and volleyball as annual events starting next season.

He also unveiled a running trophy for football and volleyball team events, to be permanently awarded to teams winning it three consecutive years.

In the tournament's final match, All Hija Sports Club secured victory over Diibo Sports Club with a lone goal scored by Kago Duyu in the 30th minute of the first half.

Individual awards were presented to Tage Niitin of DSC as the best player, Landi Millo of HSC as the highest scorer and Pura Rakesh of AHSA as the best goalkeeper.

Pura Dukhung of AHSA was adjudged the best defender, Nada Tupe of AHSA the best coach, Hibu Tagia of ZFC as the best team manager and Tage Kobing of DSC as the emerging player of the tournament. DIPRO