Gangtok, 10 Sept:
More than 80% of the footballers shortlisted by Sikkim Football Association for the Santosh Trophy training camp have announced their boycott of the camp. Triggering this strong reaction from the players is what the footballers see as SFA’s casual commitment to the game. In fact, the players are so disappointed that they also demanded today that fresh elections be called to the SFA.
These footballers associated with local premier division clubs have also received the support of Sikkimese players currently playing at the professional level outside the State.
Although several factors are contributing to this latest development, the final proverbial straw on the camel’s back was SFA’s announcement of a training camp for the upcoming Santosh Trophy for which players from many local premier division clubs were also shortlisted.
Addressing a press conference today, footballers expressed deep dissatisfaction with the manner in which SFA has shortlisted players. The training camp was scheduled to begin today for Santosh Trophy which begins in a week’s time.
The 41 players shortlisted for the camp were directed to report for the training camp today even though their teams are currently in thick of the Sikkim League, some fighting for the top spot and some others fighting relegation.
The timing could not have been worse, but that is not all that is bothering the players.
“The notice for the Santosh Trophy camp came in the last minute and all the better players from different clubs directed to attend the camp, disrupting their teams at such a crucial moment of the league,” they said.
They also rued that adhocism at SFA was affecting Sikkim’s performance at the prestigious tournament as well.
They complained that SFA organizes the camp for Santosh Trophy at the last moment every year unlike states like Goa, West Bengal and Mizoram organize camp months in advance for the State teams.
“SFA officials stated that the 41 players were shortlisted based on their performance at the ongoing premier division league but some players have not played a single game in the league so far and some are not even from Sikkim,” they alleged further to illustrate SFA’s casual approach.
Football Players Association of Sikkim [FPAS] has also demanded the executive members of SFA step down immediately and hold fresh elections in a democratic manner to allow some fresh blood and genuinely motivated executive members.
FPAS president Nirmal Chettri also clarified that FPAS has not influenced any player to take this decision and that footballers have taken this decision on their own in the interest of Sikkim football and footballers.
He further informed that a signature campaign by FPAS on their decision to reject SFA overtures has received the support of more than 120 players from premier division clubs and other division leagues along with prominent players from Sikkim in ISL and I-League like Sanju Pradhan, Bikash Jairu, Robin Gurung, Kunzang Lachungpa and others.