Dewasish Rai, Issac Lepcha, and Sonam Lepcha respectively are the three soccer players from Kalimpong chosen to represent the Indian team for the Second International Christian World Cup Football Championship. The tournament will be held in Bogota, Colombia from 10 to 18 December.
In spite of not having much training facilities and not many academies and good clubs, these three boys have made it big and their selections were approved based on their performance at the 3rd Agape Cup All India Christian Football Championships that was held in Salem, Tamil Nadu from 21- 23 October this year. They have been selected for the preparatory camp to be held in Goa from coming 1 – 7 December which will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the state of Goa.
“We are very happy that we will represent our country in the international platform,” said Rai.
Some of the renowned football clubs in Kalimpong are Apex Club, Kalimpong Football Club, Kalimpong Football Academy, Gorkha Youth Club and Share Football Club. All the three boys are affiliated with Share Football Club.
The Share Football Club was founded back in 2011 and back then they had just 28 players in its roll, and most of them were standard twelve pass-outs. The Club has appointed Chintamani Rai, an FA licensed coach as the mentor.
On another note, getting sponsorship is a big hurdle in this part of the world but Share FC have found innovative methods. They put up stalls during events or concerts and sell a variety of items to the customers and the earning from these goes to the club’s fund. The members also donate from their savings to keep the club’s day to day affair moving. At the same time, they are aware that if they want to sustain themselves in Indian Football they have to find a proper sponsor so the management is already in talks with a few companies.
These three players face similar problems for now. They have to make financial arrangements to purchase their tickets from Mumbai to Bogota and back. They are supposed to leave from Mumbai on 8th December. And also, the traveling expenses to and fro Columbia will cost them about 1.40 lakhs per head.
The good news is that John Paul II Foundation for sports (Goa) will bear the other expenses towards Visa fees, lodging before heading from Mumbai to Bogota and in addition to this, the lodging, boarding and local transport will be borne by the organizer in Bogota. The associated church is carrying out fundraising drive for these players too.
Their story can be held up as an example for young enthusiastic footballers in the country, even if they don’t belong to big clubs.