Saturday, September 20, 2014

SHSC - Cultivating sporting talent SAGAR CHHETRI

Barely two years old, Sikkim Himalayan Sporting Club [SHSC] has been crossing milestone after milestone in its journey towards encouraging sports amongst the youth of Sikkim. After topping the Second Division Sikkim League in its very first appearance last year, the club is now emerging as a strong contender in the ongoing Senior Division Sikkim-League.
SHSC has played 3 matches so far in the league [as on 20 September], in which it has won two and drawn one. It thrashed Dzongri Sporting Club 8-0 in its first match and edged past the State Sports Academy 4-3. It drew 1-1 against Boy’s Club.
It has to be mentioned that here that the club started in October 2012 and has played the Second Division Sikkim-League in 2013. Also playing the Second Division League for the first time, SHSC finished the League as champions qualifying to play the Senior Division this year.
The present squad of SHSC is a set of young boys backed by few experienced players of the state. The team is led by a young promising footballer [who shares his name with another Sikkimese football legend] Bhaichung Bhutia as the team captain. The team members have been undergoing rigorous training sessions under the coach, Pranay Subba in the mornings at Paljor Stadium.
“This is our debut performance but we are all ready to give the best fight against all teams in the league to finish as the league champions,” says the coach.
SHSC president Dadul Bhutia stated that SHSC players have prepared and trained hard to give their best performance in the Senior Division Sikkim-League. “This good start has boosted the team's morale and they are eager to play harder in the remaining matches,” he added.
Mr Bhutia further added that it is a great achievement for the club to be playing Senior Division so soon after its formation.
“Senior Division League is not the destination for SHSC but it is just a milestone for the club in its journey,” the club management has said.
The club's next target is to play the qualifying round of the Second Division I-League next year with a set of local footballers. The club knows that this is not an easy task but it is committed towards creating a platform at higher levels for local footballers to excel in.
Keeping this target in mind the club has already started to prepare local footballers for the I-League. According to the club management, there are some financial challenges but the club has forged on despite such obstacles.
“In such condition to play in the I-League is a big challenge for the club so the SHSC has been looking forward to the State Government and local sponsors to support their players,” the club has appealed.
The SHSC has also been managing a hostel for its players from other districts and outside Gangtok at Tathangchen since April this year. These boys attend their schools and colleges during the day and practice in the morning and evening. The club has also been providing coaching, diet and other support to 50 boys and 20 girls. The club has thanked the Sikkim Football Association for its support to the club.
“Even though we are faced with many challenges and difficulties, the club has been trying to create a positive atmosphere for youngsters through sports by keeping them away from drugs, alcohol and anti-social elements,” said the SHSC president.  At present, the SHSC is providing coaching in football and archery and has plans to take up other sports in the near future.
- The club finished the Second Division Sikkim-League as the league topper in its debut performance last year and was promoted to the Senior Division.
- It lifted the runner’s up trophy in the Independence Day Football Tournament 2013 in August last year at Paljor Stadium.
- One player of the club, Bishal Chettri was selected in the Gorkha Boys, Shillong same year.
- SHSC junior players have also represented the state in the 49th edition of Junior National Football Championship for Dr BC Roy Memorial Trophy 2013 held at Bokaro in Jharkhand in September last year.
- The club lifted the runners-up trophy in the CFC Cup at Bhutan earlier this year.
- It played in the All India Football Tournament organised by the AIFF in Bihar in May this year.
- SHSC girls team became champions of the Independence Day Football Tournament held at Kabi this year.

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