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Sikkim: Gangtok Himalayan Football Club emerges as the rising stars of the region

Sikkim: Gangtok Himalayan Football Club emerges as the rising stars of the region

Gangtok Himalayan Football Club is gaining recognition as the emerging stars of Sikkim, thanks to their consistent performance and dedication.

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Sikkim: Gangtok Himalayan Football Club emerges as the rising stars of the region Sikkim: Gangtok Himalayan Football Club emerges as the rising stars of the region

Gangtok Himalayan Football Club has become a powerhouse in northeastern football, marking a historic journey from childhood dreams to regional triumphs.

Founded in October 2012 by coach Pranay Subba and visionary Tenzing Norbu Lamtha, the club emerged to provide mentorship and training to young talents spotted playing without guidance on the guards ground. Under Lamtha's leadership, the Gangtok Himalayan Football Club has nurtured emerging football stars and achieved remarkable success.

Despite their triumphs, the club faces the perennial challenge of sponsorship, with coach Pranay Subba highlighting the need for additional support from stakeholders to transform football in Sikkim.

Reflecting on their journey, Subba reminisces about reaching the finale of the All India Governor's Gold Cup in 2019, participating in the I-League, and competing in the Durant Club. These milestones have propelled Gangtok Himalayan Football Club into the limelight, captivating the hearts of football enthusiasts.

The current President, Tshering Tashi Bhutia, attributes the club's success to the unwavering dedication and financial backing of Tenzing Norbu Lamtha. The club, with plans to establish an under-15 team, aspires to compete in the I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL).

Bhutia expresses delight at the overwhelming interest from football enthusiasts in joining the club, acknowledging the fierce competition. The President believes that this is just the beginning of a remarkable journey for the club.

Highlighting the pivotal role played by founder and owner Tenzing Norbu Lamtha, Bhutia explains that Lamtha's infectious passion for the sport permeates every aspect of running the club, fostering strong personal bonds with its members.

In October 2014, Gangtok Himalayan Football Club made waves by reaching the semifinals of the prestigious Sikkim Governor's Gold Cup, narrowly missing out on victory with a 2-1 defeat to ONGC FC.

Gangtok Himalayan Football Club has etched its name in the annals of Sikkim's sporting history with a series of remarkable seasons that captivated fans and set new benchmarks for excellence.

The year 2016 stands out as a watershed moment for the club, as they achieved unprecedented success across multiple prestigious competitions. Their participation in the I-League 2nd Division, Durand Cup, Sikkim Gold Cup, and Sikkim Premier Division League showcased their mettle and cemented their status as a formidable force.

The intensely competitive 2015–16 I-League 2nd Division saw Gangtok Himalayan finish an impressive second in Group A, earning them a spot in the coveted final round. However, despite a valiant effort, they secured a respectable fifth place in the final round, narrowly missing out on qualification for the I-League.

The 2016 Durand Cup witnessed the Himalayans battling it out in Group A, facing stiff competition from Indian Navy. 

The year 2019 witnessed Gangtok Himalayan's remarkable journey to the final of the 39th edition of the prestigious Sikkim Governor's Gold Cup. Their spirit led them to a resounding victory over Royal FC Siliguri, with a 3-1 scoreline. However, in a closely contested title match against Mohammedan Sporting, they narrowly missed out on clinching the championship, with a final score of 2-1. 

In that same year, Gangtok Himalayan celebrated victory in the Independence Day Football Tournament, emerging as champions after a thrilling penalty shootout against Sikkim Aacraman FC. 

The club's ambition to join the prestigious I-League received widespread recognition when the All India Football Federation announced openings for new teams. Gangtok-based Sikkim Himalayan Football Club, now known as Gangtok Himalayan, emerged as one of the front-runners for securing a spot in the league. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, this opportunity did not materialize. Nevertheless, their pursuit of excellence continues undeterred.

In 2020, Gangtok Himalayan ventured beyond borders to participate in the 18th Aaha! Rara Gold Cup held in Nepal. Their journey was filled with excitement and anticipation, but unfortunately, it came to an end in the quarter-finals with a 3-0 defeat against a formidable Three Star Club.

Edited By: Bikash Chetry
Published On: Dec 07, 2023