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New venture in land of Rhino

Golaghat, March 17: At a time when cricket has taken centerstage in the country, a group of eight young entrepreneurs and sports enthusiasts from this quiet small town in Upper Assam, 280km from Guwahati, have come up with the idea of raising a professionally managed football club.

Rhino FC is the brainchild of Sanjib Handique, Arun Goswami, Sanvit Sarma, Tapan Paul, Manoj Jain, Mrinal Saikia, Santanu Kalita and Paban Saikia. Sanjib Handique, one of the promoters of the club, said: “When an all-India invitation club football tournament was held here last year, the idea struck us that we could also set up a football club in our own town. Most of the reputed clubs of the state are based in Guwahati.”

Accordingly, in December 2013, the club was set up “with a motive to rekindle an interest in football as well as to create a football-friendly atmosphere in the district where budding footballers can hone their talent with the help of proper exposure and infrastructure,” Handique said.

The club reaped the harvest within a few months, as its team brought laurels to the district by winning the Assam Club Championship title held at Gossaigaon recently.

He said Golaghat District Sports Authority has provided all possible help, including allowing the club to use their playground and the pavilion for the players. Handique further said the club has already acquired a seven-bigha plot of land in its name to build a hostel for its players and work was also going on for the club’s own ground and stadium.

At present, Rhino FC has a total of 22 under-19 players from various districts of the state, including players from Odisha, Manipur and Nigeria. The club has also signed former Assam Rifles coach Santanu Basu and his son Akash.

The promoters of the club have now proposed to set up a full-fledged boarding football academy. Appreciating the initiative of the club, Assam Football Association secretary Ankur Dutta said: “It is an encouraging initiative. Rhino FC is being raised in a very advantageous geographical location of the state with abundant talent potential and infrastructure development prospects.”


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