Where Football once was number one
At a time when football is readily improving in both quality and popularity in the country with many development programs being conducted and numerous clubs adopting professionalism, in a small town located in the foothills of Mt Kanchenjunga where football once was number one - "Kalimpong ", is sadly taking a back seat.
Kalimpong has had a great footballing past. It has produced countless talented players who have represented themselves and the region in both the National as well as at the international level, the likes of Urgen Lama ( mini ), Dhendup Bhutia, Pem Dorjii, Nadong Bhutia, Bipen Thapa are a few to name. The people here have always been great football enthusiasts. The month of May, June, July and August would see breathtaking footballing actions with teams from within and across the region participating. People flocked in huge numbers to watch teams from Bangladesh, Nepal, and other Indian states play the beautiful game.
Yet gone are those glory days. Today football in Kalimpong is at its most pitiable state. A town that once witnessed matches with an attendance of over thirty thousand hardly or rather not at all seem to host any tournament throughout the year.
There could be numerous reasons for this downfall. Probably the lack of good infrastructures for clubs and players. The only usable stadium, Mela Ground is lamentable and is mostly occupied with political meetings, cultural events and to make matters worse, as a car park.
Whilst, on the other hand neighboring sub - divisions are seen putting their entire effort into improving their standards introducing new tournaments like the Kurseong Premier League and Siliguri Premier League.
However defying all odds clubs like Share F.C, Apex F.C, Himalshree A.C continue to train young talents and keep their footballing dreams alive with a hope that football will again rise in the region and produce extraordinary players in the days to come.
Downfall of Football in Kalimpong - Vivek Pradhan