SIKKIM FOOTBALL: Public school soccer meet – Bhaichung’s TNA hosts – Sikkim growing in leaps and bounds while Darjeeling languishes in Bengal’s inept hands ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Gangtok, Aug. 23: Tashi Namgyal Academy, where Indian soccer captain Bhaichung Bhutia blossomed as a promising footballer two decades ago, will host the Indian Public Schools’ Conference Football Tournament from September 1.
Established in 1939, the IPSC is a conglomeration of public schools in the country. “The Indian Public School should not be confused with a large number of schools, which liberally adopt ‘Public School’ with its name,” reads a media release of the IPSC. The government of India recognises only such institutions as Public Schools which are members of IPSC, it says.
Currently, 78 public schools, including TNA, are members of the IPSC.
The Gangtok-based school is an autonomous institution established in 1966 by the then Chogyal of Sikkim. The school got into the IPSC list in 1983.
Bhaichung, as a student of Class X, had led TNA to win the IPSC soccer tournament on consecutive occasions in 1990 and 1991. In fact, he had been declared the best player of the tourney at Mayo College, Ajmer, in 1991.
This year, 15 school teams from across the country are participating in the five-day tournament being organised by the TNA faculty and the TNA Alumni Association.
Apart from TNA, the other teams are — Birla Public School (Pilani), Donyi Polo Vidya Bhavan (Itanagar), Mann Public School (Delhi), Modern School (Delhi), Motilal Nehru School of Sports (Sonipat), Phoenix Public School (Karnataka), Raj Kumar College (Rajkot), Sainik School (Goalpara), The Daly College (Indore), Hyderabad Public School (Ramanthapur), Lawrence School (Himachal Pradesh), Scindia School (Gwalior) and Yadavindra Public School (Patiala).
Mann Public School is the defending champion of the ISPC football tournament 2009 hosted by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Baroda, last year.
TNA principal A.C. Rai said the participating teams are scheduled to arrive in Gangtok by August 31 and they will be put up in five hotels in town by the alumni.
“On August 31 evening, an introductory function will be held at TNA where all the participating schools will be introduced. The tournament fixture will also be drawn out in the same evening,” said Rai.
According to tournament technical director Narbu Dadul, who is also the alumni association treasurer, the teams will be divided into five groups. The semi-final will be played on September 4, while the matches for the third place and the final will be held the next day.
“The league matches will be held on the first three days of the tournament,” said Dadul.
The TNA principal said according to the ISPC guidelines, 28 players would be selected from this tournament. “After the tournament, a camp will be held to shortlist 18 of the 28 players to represent the IPSC in the national-level tournament that will be organised by the National School Games Federation of India next month,” he said.