Recalling Sikkim’s legendary football player Late Pem Dorji who captained India for a brief time!


The tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim has always been known as the Land of Orchids, Abode of Kanchendzonga, now Organic state and much more. The state Sikkim has also been the land of various legends produced many iconic figures in the country. The state can take the credit to have given birth to many legendary football players. The entire region of Sikkim and Darjeeling over the years have produced many talented football players. Bhaichung Bhutia, Sanju Pradhan, Nirmal Chettri from Sikkim to be the current ones and most common names. There were legendary football players like Late Chandan Singh Rawat, Urgen Lama ‘Mini’ from Darjeeling and Kalimpong and Late Pem Dorji from Sikkim.

Here’s the recall story of the Legendary footballer from Sikkim Late. Pem Dorji who captained the Indian football team for a brief period of time in the mid-eighties and somewhere today forgotten.

Born in the year 1958 in a small hamlet of Ben in South Sikkim to parents Ganesh Kumari Gurung and Gyampu T Chingapa was the legendary football player Pem Dorji. He completed his fundamentals from Kalimpong’s Scottish University Mission Institute (SUMI) and later from Pelling Senior Secondary School in West Sikkim. From his early childhood days, the name Dorji was synonymous with football. His passion for the game made him the part of the first Sikkimese football team which played at the National Championship at Coimbatore,1976. The game passaged his entry towards the world of football as a professional player. Dorji played as a defender and midfielder and scripted many memorable performances during a career which stretched almost for a decade.

Pem Dorji started to play from the renowned football club of India, ‘Mohammedan Sporting’ from 1980 and in 1982 he became the first Sikkimese to captain the Indian national football team in the Pre-Olympic tournament held in Malaysia. Gradually, Dorji represented India in various International game. He played at the Chinese Great Wall Cup in 1984 and won the prestigious medal for the country. He later represented Indian Football Team at South Asian Federation Games and further played the famous Asia Cup at Abu Dhabi in 1988. Dorjee represented India in the Nehru Gold Cup in the year 1983, 1984-85 and 1988 and in ‘The President Cup’ at Dhaka Bangladesh in 1983-84 and 1987.

Pem Dorji a passionate footballer from Sikkim played for various clubs in his lifetime. He was a part of Mahendra Police Club – Kathmandu Nepal, Mohammedan Sporting Club- Calcutta, East Bengal Club- Calcutta, Mohun Bagan AC- Calcutta and FCI- Calcutta.

An amiable Dorji, a passionate footballer died at a age of 42. He was battling with cancer for long. An incurable disease took his last breath in a nursing home in Calcutta on 18 October 2001. Dorji is survived by his wife Pushpa Yonzon and children Zennyla Bhutia and Marco Bhutia. During his ailing period, the former captain of Indian football team also put all his efforts to save Dorji but all went futile, at the end Sikkim and the country lost her legendary son. Sikkim will always be proud of Pem Dorji.

By Yougan Tamang,

The writer can be contacted at






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