Gangtok, 22nd July:
Sikkim is presently well known in the world in the field of football due to the Sikkim born football star Bhaichung Bhutia. Gone are the days when football used to be a small game confined only to the rural people during festivals. Now a days, the Sikkim Football Association which was formed in 1976 has a calendar of festival events for the whole year.
There are number of state level tournaments which can be enjoyed. The most important one being the Governor’s Gold Cup in which International teams participate and the tournament is mostly held during the month of September-October every year here in the capital at Paljor Stadium. The 2nd one is the Chief Minister’s Gold Cup which is played in the memory of late L.D Kazi the first Chief Minister of Sikkim at Chakung every year.
Before 1976 or prior to establishment of SFA, there was only one association called Gangtok Football Association (GFA). But now, we have the much responsible Sikkim Football Association. Now considering the development of football sector in state the SFA has started 2nd Division S-League football matches from this year after a halt approximately for a decade. It is said that the 2nd Division S- league or league matches was not possible due to lack of infrastructure. The Paljor Stadium which is the only football stadium in the capital has acquired a new look with the laying of artificial turf. This makes it more attractive for the players to participate in the football tournaments. There is no dearth of facilities for playing football in Gangtok now. In many rural areas of the state also football grounds attached to either schools or community places are being developed.
Football icon Bhaichung Bhutia is planning to start a football academy for the talented Sikkimese football players shortly and the state government too in its ability is also providing every possible help, assistance to start the said academy in the State. There are some other players like Nirmal Chettri, Sanju Chettri and Nim Tshering Lepcha who have stepped out to play the game in the National level. There are many other players from Sikkim who are going to come up to their level shortly and people should be thankful to Bhaichung for creating football history of Sikkim and making Sikkim known all over the globe.
Like wise if SFA continues to support the talented football players in the same manner it has been doing so far along with promotion then Sikkim’s football will reach to the next level and be recognized in the national level too. We are sure to have many Bhaichung Bhutias from Sikkim playing all over the world if the same kind of support, help and assistance from every people of Sikkim and the government continues.
General Secretary of Sikkim Football Association (SFA) Menla Ethenpa says to Sikkim Mail “Our Main aim is to develop the potential of young players and provide apt platform to them so that they can showcase their talent in the game of football across the world in the near future and at least the teams from Sikkim state makes up to 1st Division I-League matches”.
(Courtesy: Sikkim Mail)