Kumar Sporting Club: The Pioneering Football Club of Sikkim

Though Cricket is looked open as a gentlemen’s game and is being adored by almost all of the Indians, football has its own tang and recognition among the people of the Himalayan States. The Himalayan states, particularly the North Eastern States of India have been able to provide the greatest football players for the Country. Among them Sikkim has always enjoyed a top position. There is no doubt to ascertain that football flourished into Sikkim with its contact with the British. Possibly, the Colonial Sahibs used to play football during leisure from where the Sikkimese privileged also imitated. Thus, football attained its popularity among the Sikkimese masses which has now become an inseparable part of the Sikkimese society.  
We do not have much information about the prevalence of Football Clubs in the initial decades of the 20th Century. Much later in the 40’s, few football enthusiasts from Gangtok founded its first ever football club. This very football club was thence known as Kumar Sporting Club. It was established in the name of Crown Prince Late Paljor Namgyal, who was in the Indian air force with the British and died in a plane crash in December 1941 during Second World War in Burma. It has to be mentioned here that the Crown Prince was affectionately nicknamed as Kumar Sahib, a shaded adaptation of the word Maharajkumar Sahib. Hence, the first football club of Sikkim got its name as Kumar Sporting Club. The Kumar Sporting Club won the first cup outside Sikkim in 1948. The Paljor Stadium of Gangtok is named after the late Crown Prince Paljor Namgyal.
Football is always a favorite to the Sikkimese- Prince Tenzing Namgyal 
The Kumar Sporting Club was followed by Gangtok Football and Sporting Association. After 1973, the Gangtok Football and Sporting Association was given affiliation by the All India Football Federation (AIFF). In a national tournament the Gangtok Football and Sporting Association lost its match against Goa by 10 goals which became the crossroads in the history of football in Sikkim. After this humiliating defeat, the Gangtok Football and Sporting Association was renamed as Sikkim Football Association (SFA) in 1976. With the foundation of Sikkim Football Association, Sikkim gave some of its best players to the country like Samdrup Norden, Pem Dorjee (the first Sikkimese to lead the Indian Football team as a Captain) Kul Bahadur Chettri and many other youngsters like Mr Ong Tshering Lepcha (Former Captain India Under 21 Team) Nirmal Chettri (East Bengal and Defender Team India) Sanju Pradhan (East Bengal Midfielder) and many others who have played professionally for various Football Clubs all over the Country. Nevertheless, the biggest contributions to Indian Football from Sikkim have been the annual Governor’s Gold Cup, annual Chief Minister’s Gold Cup and Padmashree Bhaichung Bhutia (former Captain of Indian Football Team) now the founder and owner of United Sikkim Football Club.
The journey of Sikkim’s Football enthusiasm which had its start with the small Kumar Sporting Club has now become an immense SFA with its pride Pem Dorji, Samdrup Norden, Bhaichung Bhutia, Kul Bahadur Chettri and many others who are struggling to get their place in the Indian Football Team. The credit of producing these football heroes of Sikkim always goes to the Kumar Sporting Club, the pioneering Football club of Sikkim.