One of the most decorated Indian Football goal-keepers Sandip Nandy, who has played for a number of top division clubs in India, was in Gangtok with his family to enjoy the serene climate, just before the national camp which was scheduled from June 15.
He has played for reputed Clubs like Mohun Bagan( 1999-2001), Tollygunj Agragami(2001-02), East Bengal (2002-04), Mahindra United (2004-09), Chirag United (2009-10) and is presently playing for East Bengal. Nandy also featured in the National Team from the year 2000-2008 in which he showcased his phenomenal talent in the Doha Asian games against the mighty Iran team. It won him huge appreciation and applauds. He was, however, sidelined for two years due to a knee injury but has now been called back for the national camp scheduled to kick start from the June mid. Naresh Chettri, a well wisher of Lateybhakundo caught up with Sandip Nandy and asked a few questions-
Naresh Chettri: When and why did you come here in Gangtok?
Sandip: I came here on June 9 with the sole purpose of spending quality time with my family and to enjoy the serene climate of Gangtok before the national camp.
NC: Why only Sikkim?
Sandip: I have come here in Gangtok at previous two occasions to play the Governor’s Gold Cup during the year 1998 playing for Mohun Bagan and 2009 under Chirag United. I have fond memory here and I brought my family to experience the goodness that Sikkim provides and Sikkim is the best place to relax and have quality time. It refreshes your mind and body and gives you a morale boost which is much needed before the national camp.
NC: What is the future of Indian Football at global scenario?
Sandip: Comparatively the Indian Football has developed to a great extent, technically the players are sound, the team game has improved a lot and the Indian spectators and fans are encouraging the game of football even more. Youngsters are motivated towards a better future prospect in the game and few years down the line if the encouragement and the support continues, we may well see Indian football team at the World Cup.
NC: Tell us about your experience playing with Bhaichung Bhutia?
Sandip: Bhaichung Bhutia has always been the face of Indian Football. I have always looked up to him with great respect. While he was the captain of the National team he always motivated the team with outmost simplicity yet very motivating. He is by far the most successful Indian football captain and his natural talent and dedication towards the game is very rare.
NC: Your opinion about the United Sikkim FC headed by Bhaichung Bhutia?
Sandip: The club certainly looks promising and has shown great performance in its early stages. The club will certainly go a long way and its entry into the I-league division would certainly raise the level of competition.
NC: Would you play for United Sikkim FC if given a chance?
Sandip: Yes of course, I would love to play for the team if it manages to get entry into the I-league division and if the offer is good.
NC: Your opinion about the Sikkim Football players?
Sandip: Sikkim arguably produces the most talented and skillful football players. Bhaichung Bhutia, Nirmal Chettri and Sanju Pradhan, all Sikkimese have marked their own niche in the present Indian football scenario. Sikkim will certainly produce more players like them in future is what I firmly believe.
NC: Lastly would you like to visit Sikkim again?
Sandip: Yes of course, in-fact I am planning to come back right after the national camp to relax, or rather make Sikkim my second home.
The article was also published in Latey Bhakundo Blog