SFA shortlists 41 players for Santosh Trophy camp

sport
Tue, Sep 10, 2019

SAMIR NUGO
GANGTOK:
The Sikkim Football Association (SFA) has started preparations for the qualifying round of Santosh Trophy starting later this month.
Sikkim has been placed in Group B in East Zone qualifiers and they will have to top the group of three to qualify for the main round. Sikkim will play their first match against Chhattisgarh on September 23 and second against Jharkhand on September 27.
The SFA today announced that they have shortlisted 41 players from the State for a 10-day camp starting Tuesday at Paljor Stadium. At the camp, the squad will be trimmed down to 20 players who will travel to Kolkata for the tournament.
Among the 41 players, majority were selected from the ongoing S-League Premier Division by a selection committee.
The shortlisted players, however, are still not aware of their selection.  The SFA on Sunday intimated the managers and coaches of the clubs that the players associated with them are expected to join the camp.
“Santosh Trophy is a prestigious tournament. It is their (players) duty to play for the State team and hence join the camp. Clubs should also understand this; we have already spoken to them. Actions will be taken if the clubs do not release the players,” said SFA chief coordinator Phurba Sherpa at a press conference here today.
The S-League Premier Division is presently going on at the Paljor Stadium all the players sans one are currently engaged with their club.
The SFA has agreed to make considerations like allowing players to skip the camp during match days for club commitments.  
“They don’t need to attend the camp during match days, but we want them to appear for the camp,” said SFA joint secretary Arjun Rai.
The SFA officials informed that they have also included Nirmal Chettri’s name in the list. “Nirmal is an experienced player; we want him to lead to the State team.”
Chettri is presently not associated with either of the I-League and ISL. That would enable his participation in the Santosh Trophy as active ISL and I-league players are not allowed in this knock-out competition contested by the regional State associations and government institutions.
“We are hopeful that Nirmal Chettri will join the team. His experience, guidance and leadership will be of great help to the State team,” said the SFA officials.
Meanwhile, Sikkim coaches do not meet the requirement to qualify as coach to lead the State team in Santosh Trophy. A minimum of AFC-certified B license is required to qualify as a coach for the tournament which Sikkim does not presently have. The only qualified coach from Sikkim, Suren Chettri (AFC A licenser holder) is presently association with India under-19 national team.
Sikkim football icon Bhaichung Bhutia has taken up the task to get a coach for Sikkim team.
“We have already made contact with the coach. He is expected to join us in next few days,” said Rai, aiding that Bhaichung has decided to bear the entire expenses for the outstation coach including the fee.
Rai and SFA vice president Chewang Paul will oversee the camp until the coach arrives.

 


Area: 7096 Sq Km
Capital:Gangtok
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
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