Sikkim girls on way to Thimphu to play in Bhutanese soccer league

Report by: 
SUJAL PRADHAN
Gangtok
1 Jul 2018

Women of Sikkim are not only politically and education empowered they are also making their presence felt in the field of sports.
One shining example is Karishma Rai of Rabongla who has been shortlisted to attend coaching camp for the preparation of India U-17 women’s football team for the BRICS GAMES to be held in Johansnesburg, South Africa.
The coaching camp will be held at SAI, New Delhi from July  1 to 15. Karishma Rai is a regular player in the senior girls squad of Sikkim Football Association, SFA president Menla Ethenpa informed.. He has congratulated Rai on her selection for the coaching camp and wished her the best for her future ventures.
Other women footballers from Sikkim are also fast catching up with their male counterparts by playing for the national team, national-level professional clubs and now, even outside the country.
Three young girls – Nimita Gurung, Nim Riki Sherpa and Aita Hangma Limboo – hailing from remote corners of West Sikkim have been signed by Thimphu-based club Sunrise FC to play in the Women’s Super League 2018 at the Bhutanese capital. The eight-team tournament is organised by Bhutan Football Federation and starts on July 1 at Thimphu.
The three girls, all products of Soreng Girls Football Academy (SGFA), are presently in Thimphu training with the Sunrise FC team for the tournament. Joining them later would be international footballer Lhako Phuti Bhutia from Sreebadam, West district.
Lhako Phuti is currently attending the national camp of Indian senior women’s football team at Bengaluru for the Asian Games 2018. The camp ended on June 30 and shewould  proceed to Thimphu to join the Sunrise FC.
Sharing details about the selection of the four girls in Bhutan club, SGFA in-charge Palden Bhutia informed that the Sunrise FC officials had first contacted the academy in May seeking players for the club.
“The club asked for four players. They had heard about our academy and also some of our girls of our academy who had played for the country and Indian’s Women League. We send the performance report of our four players and the club signed them for the Bhutan league,” said Palden.
Nimita Gurung, 20 years, plays as a defender. She hails from Sanga Dorjee, Rinchenpong and has already played in senior national women’s football tournament.
Nim Riki Sherpa is a midfielder. The 20-year-old hails from Bermiok Martam.
Both the girls have completed their schooling and have taken admission in Namchi Government College this year.
Aita Hangma Limboo is a striker. She is from Thongling, Soreng and is presently assisting Palden to run the SGFA.
In a social media interview to the organisers, Nim Riki Sherpa said she will give her best to the Sunrise FC club. “Our main motive is to play to our best and to make our club win the tournament,” she said.
The Soreng Girls Football Academy was set up in March 2017 under the initiative of Sports Minister R.B. Subba. It presently has 33 girls in under 14 and under 17 age groups.