Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bhaichung Bhutia pick-up 30 acre land for football academy near Gangtok

Gangtok: Bhaichung Bhutia has selected and submitted a proposal to the State government for 30 acres of land in Assam Lingzey area, 45 minutes drive away from Gangtok, for his proposed football academy.
“We went to Assam Lingzey yesterday with officials from urban development & housing department and identified the land for my football academy. The officials will now do the paper work. I have asked for 30 acres of land”, said Bhaichung on Friday. He also expressed his gratitude to Sikkim government and Chief Minister Dr. Pawan Chamling for allocating him land for his academy.
Bhaichung had been asked by the State government to select and finalize the required land in Pakyong area in East Sikkim for his proposed football academy. “We have 600 acres of land at Pakyong area and asked Bhaichung to see and select the land for his academy. We will give him the land and that will be our support to him”, Chief Minister had said during a recent media interaction. Assam Lingzey falls under Pakyong subdivision in East Sikkim.
Setting up a football academy in Sikkim is a dream project of Bhaichung and he has been working with the State government on this project for the past couple of years. Once the land is made available to him, Bhaichung will be working in a phased manner to develop the academy in a phased manner.
“Since a sum of around Rs. 5-6 crores will be required to set up an academy with high quality infrastructure with two football grounds with one having an artificial turf, gym and hostel, I will be developing the academy in a phased manner. I also need to find sponsors for my academy. I will start with two training grounds and one dressing room at an initial cost of Rs. 1 crore”, said Bhaichung. He will be developing the academy with United Sikkim, a club of which he is a co-owner.
Bhaichung is planning to develop his academy on the European model where talented kids from academies graduate into professional football clubs like Wayne Rooney did when he first played for Everton. According to this model, talented kids from Sikkim, neighbouring Darjeeling hills and Northeastern region would be spotted and given training by coaches for induction in professional football clubs.
“For example, Sikkim has highly talented football kids but without a club, he cannot be spotted and has to play in national tournaments like Santosh Trophy to attract the attention of professional clubs. United Sikkim will give a platform to local and regional talents, hone their skills and make them play in national tournaments of different age categories. The most talented players will be definitely be recruited by United Sikkim or other football clubs”, said Bhaichung.
The academy also serves to scout and train talented Sikkimese kids to break into the national senior football squad. Bhaichung has been lone Sikkimese in national football senior squad for almost two decades. “Through this academy, I want players from Sikkim to represent the country in international football. The main aim is to have Sikkimese players in the national team and succeed in national and international level”, he said.


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