Incompetence of Gorkha Hill Football Association Exposed

Incompetence of Gorkha Hill Football Association

Incompetence of Gorkha Hill Football Association has cost talented Darjeeling youth football players their chance to shine at the state and national level.

On 7th March 2024, Indian Football Association (IFA) West Bengal sent a circular regarding the Inter-District Under-17 Football Championship 2024. This circular was received by GTA’s Gorkha Hill Football Association (GHFA). For some strange reason, this was not made public.

Incompetence of Gorkha Hill Football Association

Meanwhile, Kalimpong received the same circular and immediately carried out a fair and transparent selection of players and started the training session for the tournament.

In Darjeeling, GHFA waited for two weeks until 20th March to finally mention that selection would take place for the under 17 team in response to the circular. The selected players, obviously would have no time to become familiar with each other and their coach, and were required to straightaway head to play against Kalimpong and Siliguri teams two days later on 22nd March.

The circular was kept under wraps and deserving and talented football players did not get an opportunity to participate in the selection process.

Instead, GHFA picked a team from a handful of boys they quietly notified. Eventually, a team of 20 children were sent to Kalimpong to represent Darjeeling district.

The Indian Football Association’s (IFA) circular mentioned that the players had to prove that they were born between 1st January 2008 and 31st December 2009. GHFA had the responsibility of ensuring children qualified and all documentation was completed. Surprisingly, only 6 of the 20 children met the requirements. The rest were rejected due to lack of proper documentation verifying their date of birth. Subsequently, the entire team was disqualified and they did not play a single game in this important tournament.

Incompetence of Gorkha Hill Football Association

Furthermore, the GHFA failed to submit the original registration form and left the venue without informing the IFA observer. As a result, the Darjeeling district team will not be allowed to participate in the tournament any further.

GHFA is headed by former footballer Mr Mahendra Subba, who took the responsibility, along with his officials to carry out the selection in a hush hush manner and send the team to Kalimpong. It is evident from this huge failure that this entire exercise was not just a wasted opportunity for our talented youths, but also showcased sheer incompetence of those, heading the GHFA.

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As per the circular, Rs 155 per head is allocated by IFA. If the children and coaches stay overnight (in Kalimpong/Siliguri or any other town/city), the IFA pays Rs 310 per head. Over and above this, Rs 5000 is allocated for each participating team for incidental charges. For 20 children and 3 officials, this works out to Rs 3,565 (155×23) + Rs 5,000, i.e. Rs 8,565.

Incompetence of Gorkha Hill Football Association

Had GHFA genuinely cared for the children’s prospects in professional football, they would have made the circular public as soon as they received it. Just as the Kalimpong district folks did, they should have immediately announced this opportunity that would have allowed children from Darjeeling, Kurseong and our tea gardens and villages to come for the trials. GHFA should have made a fair selection process, ensured all documentation was in place, and given proper training to the entire team.

While players from the North East play for national clubs and even the national team, our children from Darjeeling don’t get an opportunity even though they are equally talented. Here was one good opportunity that would have opened the doors for the young players of our hill town. Sadly, nepotism and politics has ruined this one chance for them and shattered their young dreams. And this is true not only for football, but all other games.

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