Nirmal Chettri and Sanju Pradhan both fully established player in the I-League giants East Bengal for successive three years now were caught up by Naresh Chhetri at Paljor Stadium during their short vacation from their club. They both are now regular at almost all the matches in the playing eleven for their club and have a huge fan following at West Bengal and Sikkim.
Nirmal Chettri a product of Namchi Sports Hostel has represented the National Team in the U-14, U-19,U-23 and has carved a name for himself with his exceptional performances at number of matches he played. Sanju Pradhan yet anotherNamchi Sports Hostel product is now a renowned name in the East Bengal playing eleven and we may very soon see him playing for the National team if his performance remains consistent.
Also present with them were Bikash Jairu and Robin Gurung also a product of Namchi Sports Hostel who are now both playing for ONGC Mumbai FC. While talking both, Nirmal and Sanju said “Playing for an I-league Giants East Bengal was certainly a fairy tale story for us. The club has been treating us with outmost respect and has always supported us. We on our part have left no stones unturned and have tried to give our best performance on every match. We have been very much disciplined and follow our routine with honesty and strive to improve with every match has been our goal. By far this year has been the best among the three years we were in the club as the club managed to win the Federation Cup, Mohameddan Sporting Platinum jubilee Cup and the Calcutta league and we were ecstatic to be a part of the winning team”.
They further expressed their happiness over the artificial turfs that had been recently laid at Paljor Stadium. They said that the stadium has certainly undergone immense changes and these added infrastructures shall definitely attract many youngsters within the state towards the game and will also open ways for other top division clubs from the country to play in the state.
The state has innumerable talent that has been unutilized, which if properly groomed will definitely have a huge impact on the national scene and may be even further. In order to achieve this feat, the state government and the Sikkim Football association should work together to organize more grass hood level camps at a regular basis, bring back the days when inter school football tournaments, district level and other such preliminary tournaments which has now lost their reverence. Also they further added that keeping in mind the kind of infrastructure we have in the state presently Super leagues tournaments, invitational matches of well kown clubs and other such tournaments should be regularly organized to recognize more local talents whilst giving them valuable exposure and a much needed platform for their talents.
While on the other hand Robin Gurung from O.N.G.C. Club who was also the man of the tournament at the recently held Governor’s Gold club in Sikkim, said that playing in front of the home crowd certainly gave him a rejuvenated sense of enthusiasm which helped him earn his man of the tournament laurel. He said frequent tournaments would certainly pave te way for budding talents of the state. Bikash Jairu while talking said that Sikkim United F.C. certainly looks promising and has shown great performance in its early stages and its entry into the I league division will be a great milestone for Sikkimese football and will further add more numbers to the already growing Sikkim football fans.
These sportsmen have been the new breed of Sikkimese football idols for the young generation and have certainly filled the vacuum left by our own National football icon Bhaichung Bhutia.