|Players of Martam Secondary School who emerged winners in the tournament in Gangtok on Tuesday. (Prabin Khaling)|
Nirmal Mangar, TT, Gangtok, April 11: Four Under-15 boys from Sikkim have been chosen for football training under the tutelage of Inter Milan coaches in Calcutta.
They will be among 32 students from across the country to undergo the training and 16 of them will be taken to Italy where they can brush up their skills by playing with Inter Milan stars.
Bijay Subba of Sichey Secondary school, Dipendra Rai of Tashi Namgyal Senior Secondary, Karma Loday Lepcha of Tashi Namgyal Academy and Machung Tshering Bhutia from Machoong Senior Secondary School — all institutions are in East Sikkim — were selected for Tata Tea Jaago Re Inter Milan Soccer Stars yesterday.
The selection was made by Jamshid Nassiri, a former international footballer from Iran, in competitions held at the Tashi Namgyal Academy ground here. Three hundred and fifty students from 35 schools had participated in the contest.
“The four boys will be among the 32 talented footballers from 15 states in the country to receive training in Calcutta towards the end of this month. They will be coached by experts from Inter Milan and some Indian clubs. Sixteen of them will be chosen for further training at Inter Milan. They will get a chance to play with the members of Inter Milan and represent India in an internal tournament,” said Nassiri.
The four boys selected for the training in Calcutta. Picture by Prabin Khaling
The head scout admitted that it was not an easy task to pick the best four from among the 350 students.
“Every aspect of football was kept in mind during the selection as it was really difficult to spot the best four performers,” said Nassiri.
|The four boys selected for the training in Calcutta. Picture by Prabin Khaling|
For Dipendra Rai, it was a dream come true. “I am very happy to get selected. My dream of meeting international players is eventually coming true. I thank my school and parents for their consistent support,” he told The Telegraph.
The organisers can select a minimum of one player and a maximum of four from a zone for the Calcutta training. The four Sikkim children were chosen in the matches between the 35 schools.
The schools were divided into two categories, with 17 teams in Pool A and 18 in Pool B.
In the final, Martam Secondary School (East Sikkim) defeated Penlong Senior Secondary School (North Sikkim) 2-0 to clinch a berth in the National Championship, which is also part of Tata Tea Jaago Re.
“The victory is a great confidence booster for aspiring footballers in our school. We managed to win the tournament despite the absence of proper sport infrastructure,” said Martam school coach Bikash Chettri.
His boys will be joining 14 other schools from different zones in the country in the National Championship starting on April 27 in Shillong.
United Sikkim win
United Sikkim Football Club defeated ONGC 2-1 on Wednesday to reach the third spot in the points table of the second division I-League being held at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok.
Babatunde John Oladels and Daniel Bidemi scored the goals for the home side in the first half, while ONGC pulled one goal back in second half through a penalty.
ONGC lost its striker Alhassan Abubakar in the 45th minute when he hit Romen Singh of the United Sikkim in the face with the elbow. The ONGC had to play the second half with only 10 men.
Despite the defeat, the Mumbai team is the table topper with 20 points, closely followed by Mohammedan Sporting with 19 points. United Sikkim is in the third position with 18 points.
All the three clubs have two more matches to play and two of them will qualify for the I-League senior division.