BY SHITAL PRADHAN
I am not a football crazy fan but i cannot deny the fact that when such a huge event is being held in my own state, i can have a deaf ear to what's going on. It has been a long time i had not watched a football match at Palzor Stadium, Gangtok., could be more than ten years. I still remember i last watched the so-called the tournament of the state was way back in 1997 when our own Bhaichung Bhutia was appearing in any tournament in the home state for the very first time after being hugely successful at East Bengal that season. I still recall it was that one bi-cycle kick in one of the matches in the Santosh Trophy representing Bengal that made Bhaichung of today. So when he was playing at Gangtok and in a event like Governor's Gold Cup, the crowds was sure to rise on the occassion. I was along with my younger brother at the stadium just to watch Bhaichung.
It is more of a irony that Bhaichung was a year junior to me at my scholing days. When i was competing for my class twelve examination from Tashi Namgyal Senior Secondary School, Bhaichung was at class eleven in Tashi Namgyal Accademy. Since the two schools were arch rivals i had watched many close matches, more of a battles. The team of TNA was superior in more occassion with a clibre of players like Bhaichung, Sherab and the twin brothers Ram and Lakshuman. I beleieve Ram was the best among the four but destiny had the other story. A sharp Bikash Panji's eye (the star Indian center forward then ) saw the raw talent of Bahichung and Bhaichung was taken to Calcutta to represent East Bengal. Rest is histroy.
Coming to my Governor's Gold Cup experience, i had checked my diary the date was October 31st 1997, ( friday) stage was the semi-final of the then 19th Governor's Gold Cup. East Bengal was playing Eastern Railways. I had written in my diary ......" It was only for Bhaichung Bhutia that i had gone. I had heard so much about him, he had been a ahousehold name in soccer fan;s lips in India and across. East Bengal won by a solitary sucide goal but Bhaichung's game did not touched me but i have a word of praise for Somatai Saiza also called"SO-SO" for his effort. he had impressed me on the first sight." Two days later i again went to Gangtok to watch the finals but as unexpected East Bengal lost to Nepal 2-1 with Bhaichung Bhutia scorring the lone goal for his team and also saving his grace. Since then i had not re-visited the Governor's Gold Cup.
This time i want to be at Gangtok, just want to feel that soccer fever and off-course get photographs for my blog. Tommorow in the final and it Nepal and Indian Army. I am just crossing my fingers, i am supporting Nepal side because of its junior side making name of its own.