I-League 2nd Div: United Sikkim Set To Leave For Silchar
United Sikkim will resume their quest for top flight football again as the team is all set to leave for Silchar.
Bhaichung Bhutia's United Sikkim will resume their quest for top flight football again as the team is all set to leave for Silchar on Wednesday. The I-League 2nd Division Final Round will kick start in Silchar, Assam from March 23.
A 20-member squad, accompanied by coach Ekendra Singh and assistant coach N.B. Khewa, will kick-off their campaign against favourites Royal Wahingdoh in the opening day. The team will be led by Mayal Dok Lepcha and taking care of the players' fitness will be Sheril Lepcha.
United Sikkim, by virtue of their last year's bottom finished in the I-League, were relegated to the 2nd Division . Hence, they were given a direct entry to the final round, not having to played the qualifiers.
Despite that, the Sikkim side will have their task cut out to make it to the I-League again as the team don't look good enough to stand a chance in front of Royal Wahingdoh, Bhawanipore FC or Kalighat MS.
A source within the team, who refused to be quoted informed FeverPitch.in that, the management is not keen to qualify for the I-League as the financial requirement to play in the top tier is not within the team's reach.
"Playing in the I-League is no joke. It requires huge amount and United Sikkim is not in a position nor has the capability to attract that amount through sponsorships," he said.
Even Bhaichung told FeverPitch.in that he is literally struggling to keep the team afloat and is paying the players' salary from his own pocket. "We couldn't make a strong team this season as we are struggling financially. Sponsorship is a big issue. Sometimes, I have to pay players' salary from my own pocket."
And the former India skipper too was not very confident of his team's chances in the 2nd Division. "The 2nd Division is also getting very competitive and there are some good teams who have working very hard. So, let's see, how far United Sikkim can reach," Bhaichung said.
The I-League final round will be played in two legs - First in Silchar (March 23-31) and then the 2nd in Aizawl (April 3-20). Only the top team will be promoted to the I-League against the top two that was traditionally followed.
Team United Sikkim
Goalkeeper: Dibyendu Sarkar, Pawan Chettri
Defenders: Nim Tshering Lepcha, Sahenshah Ansari, Sur Kumar Singh, Amrit Pal Singh, Sonam Zangpo Bhutia, Mobin Rai, Afzal Ansari, Umunnare Ugochulwu Godswill
Midfielders: Nima Tamang, Ong Tshering Lepcha, Sukhwinder Singh, Jiten Rai
Sanjay Chettri, L James Singh, Tuyshim Manshangva
Forwards: Jeh Williamson, Mayal Dok Lepcha, Oluwawunmi Somide Adelaja