Gangtok, 26 Apr:
Bikash Jairu, the footballer from Sikkim currently with ISL team Jamshedpur FC, is currently in the State on a two-month break between seasons. With Jamshedpur FC since the 2017-18 season, Mr Jairu will be joining the squad again in August for pre-season training, it is informed.
Speaking with media-persons today, the 29-year-old footballer expressed happiness on being home after a gruelling ISL season which ended recently. He hails from Gyalshing in West Sikkim.
Mr Jairu is a product of the State Sports Hostel, Namchi, and State Sports Academy, Gangtok.
He started his football career with ONGC-Mumbai in 2008 after which he played for second division I-League clubs until he rose to prominence when he was signed by East Bengal FC in 2015 for two years.
Mr Jairu was among the few Sikkimese footballers to play in the ISL debut season in 2014. He was with Pune City FC that time on loan from East Bengal. He then joined ATK in the next ISL season before signing a three-year contract with Jamshedpur FC.
“Am always happy to return home! I spend time with family and friends and don’t even notice how fast the holidays pass away. I go tour around, interact with people from my village. I also plan to visit the Namchi Sports Hostel and come here to the State Sports Academy. Coming here brings back memories from my days here… we talk about our past and our days of fun and practise with friends that time,” he shared with media-persons here at Paljor Stadium.
Once all the outstation players return to Sikkim for their holidays, we come together and train here at Paljor Stadium with our friends, he added.
Having played football since childhood in Sikkim, Mr Jairu believes that many changes are needed to improve football in Sikkim.
“Many changes are still required to be introduced here. Many things do not happen at the appropriate time here. We did good this time by qualifying to the national round of Santosh Trophy and in the coming days, we can improve even further. For this, we need to put in hard work. We always tell our local players and upcoming talents to work hard and be competitive,” he said.
Jairu also spoke about the vast improvements in Indian football due to ISL.
“Indian players are now able to play in a more technical manner and we now also have Indian players scoring goals in the ISL. The salaries have also increased and most importantly, the facilities are world class which has tremendously benefited the Indian footballers. ISL is a gamechanger for Indian football,” he details.