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Tamil Eelam football team gets ready for ConIFA World Championship

Preparations are underway as Tamil Eelam Football Association (TEFA) gets ready for the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (ConIFA) World Championship beginning next month. 

Tamil Eelam Football Association (TEFA) logo depicting a leopard, the national animal. 

Players from the around the world are getting their kit on and training hard for the international football tournament that will be played from 01-08 June 2014 in Sweden.

Competing along side Tamil Eelam, will be Aramean Suryoye, Ellan Vannin, Zanzibar, Sapmi, Abkhazia, Quebec, Kurdistan, Darfur United, Padania, Occitania and Nagorno-Karabakh.

With the games taking place at the Jamtkraft Arena, currently a FIFA Level 2 arena with the capacity to hold up to 6,000 spectators, excitement is building.

Tamil Guardian caught up with TEFA manager Ragesh Nambiar ahead of a busy day of training.

"We already have a strong team, some small changes and team training will get us ready for the next tournament," said Nambiar with his characteristic nonchalant smile. 

    
TEFA squad at Tynwald Hill 2013  

Last year, the Tamil Eelam team finished in third place at the Tynwald Hill Tournament in the Isle of Man, but this time round competition is expected to be fierce with Tamil Eelam football team being placed in the same group as Kurdistan and Aramean Suryoye.

Manager Nambiar remained upbeat however.

"Yes, we have been placed in a group with some tough teams, but we are looking forward to the challenge," he said.

"Our progress will be determined on how well we work as a team, besides the competitiveness of the matches will just make the games even more exciting to watch," he said.

Tamil Eelam Football Association (TEFA), formed by the Global Tamil Youth League in 2012, played its first match at the VIVA World Cup in Kurdistan the same year.

The team, made up of the nation’s budding footballing talents around the world, consists of semi professional and amateur players that compete in leagues in their respective countries.

"We just hope we do our brothers and sisters back home proud, I can't wait for the day they have the freedom to represent our nation too," he added, before running back on to the pitch.

Tamil Eelam celebrates striker Menan Nagulendran's hat-trick at VIVA World Cup in 2012