Mendra Dorjey / CNN-IBN
Fri, Sep 19, 2008 at 17:43
New Delhi: Subroto Cup, currently being played at New Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium, is India’s most prestigious football tournament for schools.
At this year’s Subroto Cup a team from Kalimpong is representing West Bengal. The team trained hard to play against and beat the best school teams in their zone, their district and emerge as champions of West Bengal- a feat that made them heroes in their small town.
“Everyone in Kalimpong came forward to encourage us and contributed to make our trip to Delhi possible. They gave us everything we needed for this trip. We are very thankful to them,” says team member Sonam Lepcha.
The town of Kalimpong is no stranger to footballing glory. The grounds the boys trained on are the very same ones that gave birth to the talent of Indian footballs former captain Pem Dorjee and many maore who played for famous Bengal clubs.
The legacy they left behind has been an inspiration for the current players.
“Pem Dorjee played for our school. He captained India and the boys get inspired by his feat,” team coach Obed Subba says.
Qualifying and representing West Bengal at the Subroto Cup in the capital was defintley a dream come true. but the boys had many more surprises in store for them.
“We had only seen the Ambedkar Stadium on TV. Playing our matches in the same stadium was a dream come true,” another player, Raju Rai, says.
Their performance in the tournament may not have been the best with the boys losing their first two matches in the league stages and it is still something they can only learn from.
“We had hardly played outside our town and hardly played on grounds like this. Now we know what the competition outside is like. We will train harder and come to win the tournament next year,” Lepcha says.
These boys know that with the immense talent they have and with history on their side, it is only the beginning of all their footballing dreams come true.