Battle of Golays in soccer
Hundreds gathered at the playground here on Tuesday witnessed Sikkim chief minister P. S. Tamang (Golay)’s Poklok-Kamrang defeating his son Aditya’s Soreng-Chakung 2-0 in a see-saw battle in the final of the first Inter-Constituency Football Tournament.
Both goals were scored on either side of lemon break. The chief minister represents the Poklok-Kamrang constituency in the Assembly and Aditya is an MLA of SorengChakung. However, both the father and son gave the final a miss. Golay Senior represents Poklok-Kamrang in the Assembly.
Golay Senior was very keen to attend the match and even got the organisers of a programme at Parakha in Pakyong district to advance the timing originally scheduled for 9.30am to 8am. so that he could make it to Jorethang in Namchi district on time for the football final, but had to abandon it at the last minute.
“The chief minister could not attend the final because he had to attend an important meeting in connection with the prestigious G20 events Sikkim is scheduled to hold in March,” Jacob Khaling, the political secretary to the chief minister, told The Telegraph after the match. He also ridiculed the portrayal of the match as a father-son duel.
Golay Senior, of course, is an avid sports lover and was a keen footballer during his salad days. He was the president of the Sikkim Cricket Association in the 2000s and, recently, had attended the inaugural match of the ongoing Hockey World Cup 2023 between India and Spain at Rourkela in Orissa.
A la the Orissa government, which is the official sponsor of the Indian hockey team, Golay’s government is sponsoring the first edition of the franchised-based Sikkim Premier League (SPL) that kicks off on January 29.
En route to Rourkela on Thursday, the chief minister had briefed All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Choubey on board their flight from Delhi on the initiation of the SPL to promote football in the state and provide a platform to aspiring players. Golay also thanked Choubey and the AIFF for the proposal to develop a Centre of Excellence in Sikkim for both boys and girls in the under-14 and under-17 age groups.
Kunga Nima Lepcha, the minister for sports and youth affairs, said the inter-constituency tournament was also an attempt to unearth talents in the interiors of the Himalayan state which has produced many national-level footballers, including Bhaichung Bhutia. “We have plans to develop the grounds in Jorethang and Mangan under the Khelo India programme. Work on the ground in Kyongsa is already in progress,” he told The Telegraph.