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14 Jul 2018

Sikkim soccer body formed

RAJEEV RAVIDAS, TT, Jul 14, 2018, Gangtok: About 150 active footballers of Sikkim have come together to form an association under the leadership of Indian internationals Nirmal Chhetri and Sanju Pradhan.

Chhetri said the footballers, both men and women, held a meeting on Thursday and decided to name the body as Football Players' Association of Sikkim.

"We will take up various issues concerning the welfare of players with the Sikkim Football Association and the sports department," he said.

An ad hoc committee of the association with Chhetri as its president and five others as vice-presidents will run the body.

Jerry Basi, who was part of the gold medal-winning Indian team at the Bangkok Asian Games in 1970, is the adviser of the association.

The association, Chhetri said, will be independent of the SFA and seek the affiliation of the Football Players' Association of India. "Our association will not be against anybody. It will solely work for the betterment of the players. We will take up issues like contracts with clubs, insurance against injuries and playing conditions at grounds," said Chhetri.

Pradhan said the overall goal of the association was to improve the standard of the local leagues. "We will also work at the grassroots level to improve the standard of the game in the state," he said.

Myal Dok Lepcha, a vice-president of the association, said the leagues could only be improved if they were held over an extended period of time. The SFA conducts three leagues - A, B and C divisions - every year. "The leagues now are played over 20 days. If you look at the leagues of states like Mizoram and Manipur, they are held over four or five months. We must also look at extending the leagues to keep players on their toes for longer periods," he said.

Kikam coach

The National Cricket Academy has appointed Kikam Bhutia, the coach of the Sikkim women's cricket team, as one of the coaches of the North-east/Bihar zonal team for the Board of Control for Cricket in India-conducted Under-19 inter-zonal one-day cricket tournament for girls to be held at Chennai from July 16 to July 25.

Kikam had earlier had been the fielding and wicket-keeping coach of the Under-19 (Girls) Northeast/Bihar Zonal Academy Camp that was held in Imphal, Manipur.

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