Gangtok: Hosts SFA XI lost to JCT Academy 3-1 in the opening encounter of the 29th All India Governors Gold Cup football tournament at Paljor stadium on Saturday. Jagpreet Singh, who scored a brace, proved to be SFA XI’s nemesis.
The win helped JCT Academy make the pre-quaerter finals where they will lock horns with NRT, Nepal.
JCT Academy took the lead when Jagpreet Singh scored in the seventh minute of the first half. Jagpreet netted his second goal 12 minutes later. SFA custodian Karma Tshering Lepcha fumbled on both the occasions as the visitors took a 2-0 lead. JCT completed the tally when L. Zira made it 3-0 in the 51st minute.
However, SFA restored some parity when skipper Dawa Lepcha scored in the 64th minute.
Seventeen teams from all over the country including sides from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh are vying for top honours in the knock-out tournament.
Nigerian Eagles, an all Nigerian team, are the special attraction this time.
However, the tournament, considered as the region’s biggest sporting extravaganza, this time lacks lustre with big teams including Calcutta clubs missing out of the action. With the meet clashing with the Durand Cup, fingers are being pointed at the AIFF’s step-motherly attitude towards Sikkim football.
Blaming the AIFF for ignoring the Governor’s Gold Cup in national football calendar, a senior member of the Sikkim Football Association (SFA) said: “Taking into account of the tournament’s popularity, the AIFF should have avoid the clash in dates. Had the Gold Cup been added to the annual soccer calendar such clashes could have been avoided.”
Missing in action this year are defending champions Air India (Mumbai), Tata football Academy and Army XI among others.