An 18-member Sikkim team left on Tuesday afternoon to represent the State in the prestigious Dr T Ao Memorial U-21 Football Tournament 2018 to be started on February 23 at Guwahati in Assam. Sikkim were the runners-up in the last edition of the tournament.
Sikkim have been placed in Group B along with Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya in the qualifying round of the tournament. Sikkim will be playing its first match against Meghalaya on February 23 followed by another match against Mizoram on February 24 and against Tripura on February 25.
The State team members are Hissey Norbu Bhutia, Pujan Pradhan, Kunal Tamang, Evan Thapa, Nima Rinchen Sherpa, Lha Tshering Lepcha, Noel Darjee, Dilon Kharga, Prashant Chettri, Dawa Lhendup Sherpa, Sonu Hang Subba, Sangay Bhutia, Burnes Rai, Amon Lepcha, Ayuk Hang Limboo, Abinash Sharma, Roshan Pradhan and Amrit Tamang.
The team has been accompanied by Suren Chettri as the team coach and Arjun Rai as the team manager.
Speaking to the State team members at Paljor Stadium on Tuesday morning, Sports & Youth Affairs Department Secretary SD Dhakal expressed his best wishes to all members of the team and motivated them to give their best to bring back home the winning trophy this time from the tournament.
He encouraged them to play in a better teamwork and coordination and to maintain a good discipline to keep the good name of Sikkim. Dhakal encouraged young footballers to have a dream and to follow it sincerely and dedicatedly to make a successful career in the professional football in the near future. He further urged them to stay focus to explore their full potential.
Sikkim team manager Rai informed that the selection trial for the State team was held on February 17 at Paljor Stadium. He added that the selection was participated by 28 footballers from different clubs and academies of the State and finally 18 players were shortlisted in the State team. He added that the team comprises both young and experienced footballers of the State. Rai expressed his hope that the team would perform better to bring back home the winning trophy.