Topden Mishael Karthak
Born on 19th January 1948 in Ging Tea Estate Darjeeling. Mr Raju Rai was one of the most Revered and respected sportsperson in Darjeeling hills. He was a born sportsman active in almost all the sports but he dedicated himself to football.
Mr Rai at 14 years of age played his first game for Goethal’s Memorial School Kurseong. During his schooling Days at Goethals, he was first asked to be a goalkeeper for the school team. Mr Rai’s footballing career started to take shape when He joined the Town Club Raiganj and played in the local League there. He had an impressive season with the Raiganj outfit.
After moving to Nepal in 1967 he started to play for Friends Union. His performance was appreciated by all and had an outstanding Season with the club there. In the year 1969 he was selected to play for Nepal National team. He played the prestigious D.C.M Trophy in Delhi for the Nepalese team and had great influence in the team. They reached till the semi-final stage of the tournament.
Mr Rai, in the year 1971 represented Darjeeling in the tournament held in Durgapur and had a great run till the final and came home with the runners up trophy.
Mr Rai after a gap of 2 years got an offer from Himalayan Sporting Club Kurseong one of the household football team from his era. He inspired his team to win all the major tournaments in that calendar year.
Mr.Rai then played for Bhutan XI the following year in the Brigade of Gorkha’s Gold Cup Held in Darjeeling.
In the year 1977, Mr Rai took a step ahead and moved to Sikkim as he got an offer to coach the school team of Tashi Namgya Academy. He still used to play in the local Leagues but he totally focused on his coaching role. He was then given responsibility to form a team for the “All India Governors Gold Cup” in the year 1979. He then led his team Gangtok Municipal Corporation to win the first Gold cup.
He also managed a number of school teams and local football teams.
Mr Rai had successful stint as a coach during his days with Himalshree Football Club Kalimpong where he won numerous games and trophies with the club.
Mr. Rai hung up his boots in the year 1983 where he last played for Ghoom Jorbunglow sporting club.
Mr Rai after suffering from prolonged illness sadly passed away on 27th March 2014. His footballing career is truly inspiring, his love for the game will never be forgotten.
Revered football coach from Kalimpong who contributed a lot to the sport in this region.
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