Bhattacharya (right) and Siliguri mayor Munsi Nurul Islam (left) inspect the stadium, the venue of the match, on Thursday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
Siliguri, Jan. 15: FC Bayern Munich II has proposed to take two footballers of Siliguri to Germany for training.
“We have received the proposal from the German club. The Siliguri Mahakuma Krira Parishad has been given the responsibility to identify the two players, one of whom will be from the tea estates. The names are likely to be finalised shortly,” said Ashok Bhattacharya, the state urban development minister. “It will be a great opportunity for the duo.”
Last year, the German club had taken two players from Burdwan and sent them back after training.
Bhattacharya said the details of the proposal would be discussed with officials of the team when they land here on January 20 for a football match against Mayor’s XI at Kanchenjungha Stadium the next day.
The German team has also agreed to auction the players’ jersey, football and some other sporting gears used and signed by them and the soccer legend Gerd Mueller.
The auction will be held after the 90-minute match.
“We are yet to finalise the venue for the bidding to be held in the evening,” he said. “Mueller himself will be present and put some of his items on the bid. It is a chance for sports lovers to grab items for personal collections.”
The organisers hope to collect Rs 5-6 lakh from the auction. “The proceeds, to form part of the Mayor’s Relief Fund of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, will be spent later to extend financial help for treatment of players and needy children,” he said.
The 27-member contingent, including Mueller and 20 players, will reach Siliguri on January 20. The next morning, they will go to the stadium for practice.
“The game will start at 2.30pm but we request the spectators to take their seats an hour earlier because of the civic reception to be accorded to the former World Cupper,” Bhattacharya said. “Each member of the squad will be handed mementoes like Darjeeling Tea, apparels and gears used by tribals of the region.”
At night, a dinner will be hosted by the north Bengal zonal council of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
The next day before departure, some of the Germans will play “informally” against 30 junior footballers selected from the coaching centres run in the slum areas of Siliguri and its suburbs.