Bhutia launches football club in new avatar

Last Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 19:50 PM IST

Kolkata: Indian football icon Bhaichung
Bhutia was seen in a new avatar when he launched his
football club -- United Sikkim.

Co-owned by Bhutia, music maestro Shankar Mahadevan and
FidelisWorld, the club`s aim is to make it to the I-League
next season by qualifying from second division.

Boasting the national team`s trio of Bhutia, Rennedy
Singh and N S Manju, the club will mark its debut when it
takes on Langsing Sports Club on March 31 in a group A second
Division League fixture.

Unveiling the club jersey and logo, Bhutia said it was a
historic occasion for him as realised his dream of owning a
club, which will be coached by Stanley Rozario.

"As a national player for over a decade (more than 15
years), I had a dream to own a football club. I see it
fulfilled today. It`s a historic day. I wish to make United
Sikkim a big name in India," Bhutia said.

Bhutia said he had started the club in a small way two
years back but could make things happen after getting the
support of Mahadevan and FidelisWorld.

"I was struggling but after meeting like-minded people in
Dubai, the dream got fulfilled."

An emotional Bhutia said it was important to launch the
club in Kolkata, where he started his career 17 years back.

"Bhaichung Bhutia was made in Kolkata... I started my
life here. So it was very important to launch the club here,
though it`s based in Sikkim."

The main target is to play in the I-League and build it
from there.

"We are confident of qualifying this year itself and set
an example. We have a three-year target in mind in case we
miss this time around."

In the hot seat as player as well as the owner, Bhutia
said it was very challenging to build his team.

"It`s a big challenge. Like roping in Rennedy (Singh),
but I am completely enjoying the role. I want to develop
infrastructure and work on youth development programme in
Sikkim.”

"I want this to be a perfectly professionally-managed
club in India. We have a good mix of players."

Mahadevan of the Shankar-Ehsan-Loy musical fame, who
composed the popular World Cup theme song `De Ghuma Ke` said
he wanted to compose something different for the club.

"I am composing a song for the team. I hope it will be
as popular as my previous songs," Mahadevan said.

Coach Rozario said it`s a good sign for Indian football
with players like Bhutia getting into sports management.

"The team has a lot of potential and with Bhutia
involved we will be roaring lions," Rozario said referring to
the logo.

"This is the second club from the Northeast (after
Shillong Lajong FC). The boys have a killer instict here. I am
sure it will be a success," Rozario, a former Mohun Bagan,
East Bengal and Shillong Lajong coach, said.

The squad :

Bhaichung Bhutia, N S Manju, Rennnedy Singh, Debjit
Majumder, Muttath Suresh, Bijoy Das, Tanmay Ghosh, Budhiram
Tudu, Joseph Daniel, Pradip Hembrom, Beikhokhoi Beingaichho, K
Kulothungan, Sukdeb Ghosh, Lalrinfela, Prem Kumar, Pranesh
Dewan, Tenzing Tsephel Bhutia, Mayal Dok Lepcha, Tashi Tseten
Bhutia, M Bijen Singh, Jiten Rai, Sagar Rai, Nim Tshering
Lepcha and Sumit Thapa; Foreigners: APD Carvalho, Joseph
Lapira, Mituski Ichihara, John D Menyongar.

Coach: Stanley Rozario.

PTI