Gangtok, Sep.20 : Nestled in the foothills of Himalaya, Sikkim is widely known for its rich biodiversity. But not many may know it is also the breeding ground of footballers in India from the northeast.
The State recently got a major boost, when world's biggest football organization FIFA, decided to provide monetary assistance for the development of football sport in the state. It is well-known that people in the northeast region of the country have always been drawn to sports, especially football. And, their passion perhaps, drew Federation International of Football Association (FIFA), the biggest name in the world of football, towards India, particularly towards Sikkim. Known for its pristine natural reserve, Sikkim is also known as the home of Bhaichung Bhutia, all time India's best footballer and captain of current Indian football team. Youngsters in the region view FIFA support, as a milestone, to encourage the sport here. Arjun Rai, Coach of the United Sikkim Football Club, said: "The money that FIFA has given for our State, would be highly beneficial for promotion of football here. That money would be used in ground maintenance, making new grounds and football houses. So we will be benefited." Leezang Lepcha, Football player, Sikkim, said: "Football is in our blood. It is highly popular in northeast. There are other sports also but in Sikkim, in Gangtok and in northeast we give more preference to football. That's why we are playing football since our childhood." Under its Goal Project 2, FIFA would be providing a monetary assistance of rupees one crore to develop the football infrastructure in the State.
Even the state government and All India Football Federation would be contributing two million rupees each to fasten the process of development. Sikkim is the only State after Karnataka to be selected by FIFA for its golden project, which is believed to boost moral of youngsters of the region to further hone their skill and talent. By Tashi Pradhan