Santosh Trophy Team Profile: Sikkim's Subhankar Mondal explores the Sikkim football team as they prepare for the upcoming Santosh Trophy.....

Sikkim are drawn in Cluster VI along with Manipur and Uttarakhand and start their Santosh Trophy campaign on May 27 against Uttarakhand. Yet they started their training camp only on Friday but even then their coach is confident of a good showing in one of the major football competitions in India.

Phupten Bhutia is a very enthusiastic man when it comes to discussing about his Sikkim football team. He might have just started the coaching camp but he is already aware that his boys can perform well in the upcoming competition.

Speaking to, Bhutia explained, "We started our preparations only from Friday. We shall declare our final team list for the Santosh Trophy after four days.

"We have a young team. Some of the players play outside Sikkim; most of the players are from Sikkim itself. We have a young side and I think that my boys will do well in the Santosh Trophy."

Indeed the bulk of the squad is based in Sikkim itself. The likes of Sanju Pradhan and Nirmal Chettri, both of whom play for Kolkata giants East Bengal, are there and so are three or four other more established players.

While this might be a disadvantage in terms of progressing far in the competition, it would actually allow the young untried talent from Sikkim to showcase itself on the national stage.

Coach Phupten Bhutia says, "We have players who are playing for East Bengal. We also have young players. This time we don't have too many senior players and have to play with junior players. Our performance would depend on how they perform."

Santosh Trophy is one of the most prestigious football competitions in India and Bhutia knows that. Therefore he is taking it very seriously.

"Santosh Trophy is a big tournament and we are taking it seriously. We were unable to start our coaching camp until Friday and it depends on how the young players perform."

And hopefully they will perform well.

Subhankar Mondal