Siliguri, Dec. 25: Sukna Gold Cup Challenge Football Championship will kick off on Saturday to promote local talents and also to velop the amity between people of the hills and the plains.
Bimal Gurung, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president, will inaugurate the tournament to be organised by the Sukna Games and Sports Association at the Sukna playground, 7km from here. The finals of the tournament will be played on January 18.
“This is for the fourth year we are organising the tournament in which 20 teams will participate. The teams are coming from across the region, Calcutta, Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh,” said Suren Pradhan, the secretary of the association. “One main objective of organising the tournament is to bring forth the amity and fraternity between people of the hills and the plains.”
The association, established 13 years ago, organises regular football coaching camps to hunt for soccer talents. “In November, we organised a month-long coaching camp at Sukna, where Shyam Thapa, a former national footballer and currently the director of Mohunbagan Football Academy, was present,” Pradhan said.
Thapa had selected a local talent Amir Lama, who hails from Shibkhola in Kurseong, for the academy. “The former footballer also promised us that he would return here shortly to search for more talents,” Pradhan said.
On the inaugural day of the tournament, the organisers will felicitate Agai Tshering Lepcha of Kalimpong and Santbir Rai of Pubong Tea Estate in Kurseong who had represented the national team several times.