Gangtok, 23 Jul:
A product of Bhaichung Bhutia Football Residential School, Justinmani Rai, Gurugram, has been selected for U-12 Singa Cup, 2019, scheduled to be held in November 2019 at Singapore. He is the only player from the entire Northeast Region to get selected in U-12 category for the Singa Cup.
SingaCup, is an international youth football tournament, held annually in November in Singapore.
12-year-old Justinmani Rai hails from Namchi, South Sikkim, and was a product of Namchi Public School. He started playing football actively at the age of 9 under the tutelage of the football coach of Namchi Public School, Allen Tshering Bhutia.
Speaking to SummitTIMES, Justinmani’s mother,Sushma Gurung Rai, informed that Justinmani took part in the winter football coaching camp organised by NPS during the winters of 2016–17 and 2017-18. In the ARCES [All Roman Catholic Educational Institute of Sikkim] football tournament he scored 17 goals helping his team tolift the cup.
It was also during the winter football coaching of that year, that former Indian football team captain, Bhaichung Bhutia visited the camp. Seeing his performance, Bhaichung Bhutia promised to sponsor Justinmani in the Bhaichung Bhutia Residential School.
Justinmani had to go to Shillong for the selection process on February, 2018, and got picked from about 5000 aspirants for the second selection process.
The final selection was held at Vedas International School, Sohna, Gurgaon, Haryana in March 2018. Fortunately, he got selected on 31 Mar, 2018.
It was there that he could really hone his skills and take it to the next level under the guidance of well qualified coaches, said Justinmani’s mother.
He was part of the winning team of U-11 21st Netaji Subhash All India Football Tournament 2019, U-11 Diana Jones Football League, U-11 Delhi Youth League 2018–19 and U-11 Delhi Golden League 2018.
Justinmani’s parents have thanked Bhaichung Bhutia, Allen Tamang Tshering Bhutia, Fr George D’Souza [Director of NPS], Fr Stanny Sequire [principal of NPS] and family members for helping him generously in his frequent trips.
He is not only a gifted footballer but also does well in academics and has won a medal in a Science Olympiad.