Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Faithfull play football

Football is in the air. Paljor Stadium has been hosting matches, sometimes several on one day, and tournaments without break for a while now, and the latest to clash boots in competition on the Astroturf are churches and their flock. The third edition of the Sikkim Inter-Church Football Tournament kicked at Paljor Stadium on 21 September. The tournament is being organised by the Sikkim Christian Sports Committee [SCSC].
The inaugural day had North Zilla Upadhyaksha Nim Tshering Lepcha as chief guest. 35 churches from across the State are participating in the tournament being played in knock-out format with teams progressing through two pools.
Defending champions Evangelical Presbyterian Churches of Sikkim, Gangtok, and last year’s runners-up, Baptist Church, Gangtok, have received direct entry into the quarter-final round.
Two matches are being played every day.
Speaking to NOW!, SCSC chairperson, Khagen Rai, informed that the committee was formed in the year 2012 by some likeminded youth from different churches of the state. The main objective of the committee is to provide a platform to local players to showcase their sporting skills and to bring churches together for some sporting competition.
“There are many talented footballers, especially in the rural parts of the state, so the SCSC has been trying to bring out such footballers to the notice of football academies and teams through this tournament,” he said.
To drive home the point, Mr. Rai informs that some players from different churches were picked up clubs in the state after coming to notice during last year’s tournament. “These achievements have encouraged us to organise the tournament in a still better manner this time,” he added.
He states that this time the tournament has restricted entry of national and state players to encourage the participation of the “raw talent” from different parts of the state.
Mr. Rai mentions that earlier the tournament was taken primarily as entertainment, but now, with the standard of the tournament having gone up, the competition is keener. The finals are scheduled for 07 September.

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