Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sikkim Governor'S Gold Cup - 2007

The countdown for the 27th All India Governor's Gold Cup Football Championship has begun in Sikkim.Launched in the year 1979 the tournament has the distinction of running without any interruptions for the last twenty seven years. No other tournament can boast of such a record, not even the Federation Cup and the Santosh Trophy, two of India's premier tourneys.

The tournament is organized by the Sikkim Football Association (SFA) the apex body of all the football organizations in Sikkim with the support from the state government and some business organizations ,there is no official sponsor as such. All the matches are played at the picturesque Palzor Stadium in Gangtok.
'Gold cup' for the locals the tournament is like a festival in Sikkim, Gangtok the capital city which hosts the tournament comes alive during the period. Gold Cup becomes the talk of the town. Almost everyone plunges into this carnival even people who are not crazy about the game (although this kind of people are very hard to find in Sikkim).The kind of impact this tournament has in Sikkim can be gauged by the fact that the government employees are allowed to go and watch the matches if they have the tickets and its truncated classes for the schools and colleges for the entire duration of the tournament. Every individual of sikkim soaks in this festive spirit.
Teams from Kolkata have always performed well in the gold cup with Mohun Bagan winning it record 9 times. East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting have also made their presence felt with the latter triumphing twice. Red and golds surprisingly don't have any Gold cup titles to their credit. Outside the three giants many other Kolkata outfits have also participated in the gold cup giving some very good performances.
The tournament also gives the local a chance to see the best clubs of India in action along with the national teams of Bhutan and Nepal. A club team from Bangladesh is also invited. This is one tournament the people of Sikkim don't miss for anything. The die-hards wait throughout the year for the gold cup to start
The local talents gets an opportunity to showcase their skills at the nationals level during this tournament as the domestic league champions and knockout tournament (independence cup) winners get a berth in the gold cup along with a selected Sikkim football association team. last year sikkim sports academy which had got a wild card entry into the tournament performed brilliantly and reached the semi finals which was beyond anyone's expectations. Two boys from that team namely Sanju Pradhan and Nirmal Chettri have already completed a season with Air India.Bhaichung Bhutia had also impressed during the gold cup from where he was picked up by East Bengal and rest as they say is history. This year the Gold cup will start from the 24th of October and the wait has already begun for the football fans of Sikkim. Along with the Durga and Laxmi Puja Gold cup is another festival which is celebrated in Sikkim.
Saurav Rai