GANGTOK, 18 May: Sikkim Football Association [SFA] has released its annual calendar of football and other activities for new season of 2019 here at SFA Football House on Saturday. As per the SFA calendar for this season is scheduled to be started with C division State League from 20 May and will finally end with AIFF D-Licence course in December this year.

Addressing a press conference here today, SFA vice-president Sonam T Ethenpa mentioned that apart from its regular tournaments and events the association has also included few more events this season. He informed that SFA was organising SFA U-17 Sikkim League for the first time in the State mainly to provide better and bigger platform to young footballers of the State. “This league is also a selection trial for the upcoming Junior Nationals. The selection committee will shortlist the best 30 players from the league for the State camp to bring out a strong team of Sikkim,” he said. The league will have eight teams which will be divided into two groups. The player must be born on or after 1 July 2003 and COI and birth certificate of the players is mandatory, no other document indicating the birth date and year will be entertained, it is informed.

Likewise, SFA is also organising the Pre Independent Football Qualifying Match [knock-out] from 23 to 31 July for the first time in the State. This tournament will have six premier division clubs and top two teams will be qualified for the Independent Cup 2019, it is informed. Mr Ethenpa stated that SFA was also organising Futsal Tournament for the first time in the State from 03 to 10 November, which will have around 20 teams. He added that SFA has also decided to organise Women’s Sikkim-League Football Tournament again from 14 to 20 October.

SFA annual calendar for this year also includes Sir Tashi Namgyal Memorial Independence Day Football Tournament 2019 from 07 to 15 August. All India Governor’s Gold Cup Football Tournament 2019 tentatively to be held from 12 to 27 October accordingly to availability of fund and approval from AIFF. SFA is also organising Referee Refresh Course in November and AIFF D Licence Course in December.

Mr Ethenpa informed that SFA also gets an offer from AIFF to organise the East Zone round of Santosh Trophy in Sikkim in the month of September. “It is a golden opportunity for the State to host a round of such prestigious tournament but it is difficult to meet the requirement and guidelines of AIFF to host this round. However, the final decision has to be taken in the meeting of SFA but it very likely to decline this offer as we do not have infrastructure and facilities asked by AIFF,” he said.

By Sagar Chettri

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