Gangtok, 29 Jul:
India international and Nehru Cup 2012 winner, Nirmal Chettri, has kicked off his home-town club, FC Melli, with a bang.
The Nirmal Chettri-led FC Melli won its debut match 05-01 in the opening game of the Independence Day football tournament at Melli Bazaar ground, South Sikkim, yesterday.
Nirmal had roped in fellow ISL and I-League footballers Sanju Pradhan, Bikash Jairu, Uttam Rai and Nim Tshering Lepcha for the first-ever match of his club. The remaining players were local footballers from Melli constituency.
The sight of star footballers of Sikkim and the country playing before them in a competitive match energized the local crowd.
Sanju, Bikash and Uttam did not disappoint the large gathering and scored a goal each. The other two goals were scored by Sandeep Subba and Prabhat Gautam.
Speaking to media-persons later, Nirmal shared that he had started FC Melli last year but could not make much progress as the Melli bazaar ground was under construction.
“This year, the Independence Day football tournament was making a comeback at Melli after a gap of some years and we thought of debuting FC Melli with this tournament before the local spectators. It was a wonderful start and the crowd was excited to see us play,” said Nirmal.
FC Melli will play its next game on 04 August.
Nirmal informed that Sanju and Bikash will be featuring in the next game as well while Uttam would not be available as he has to report for his club in Goa.
“I took the initiative of forming FC Melli as I want to give back to my home town and society. I grew up playing football here. The club is for promotion and development of local players and will not be limited to playing Independence Cup tournaments only. We are planning to play S-League C Division next year. The ground will be completed by this year end and I will arrange a residential training programme for local talents with coaches from outside,” Nirmal shares.
Nirmal added that FC Melli will pick most of its players from Melli constituency and the remaining from the rest of Sikkim and neighbouring Darjeeling hills.
The logo of FC Melli also features Melli town, the landmark Melli bridge and Tarey Bhir.