Bhaichung Bhutia-“The Torchbearer of Indian football “
Bhaichung Bhatia is the first name comes to my mind when I think about Indian Football.He is nicknamed as the Sikkimese Sniper because of his shooting skills in football.
In words of I.M.Vijayan-Three time Indian Player of the Year -Bhaichung Bhutia is “God’s gift to Indian Football”. He is Considered as the epitome of the rise of Indian football.
Born on december 15th,1976 in Tinkitam,Sikkim,he played as a striker all his carrier.He is known for his powerful shots and his eagle eye accuracy in front of goal.
Bhaichung Bhutia has an older brother named Chewang Bhutia. Chewang and Bhaichung both went to boarding school. Bhutia has had four spells at I-League football team East Bengal Club, the club where he started his career. When he joined English club Bury in 1999, he became the first Indian footballer to sign a contract with a European club and only the second to play professionally in Europe, after Md Salim. Afterwards he had a short spell at the Malaysian football club . He also played for JCT Mills, which won the league once during his tenure; and Mohan Bagan,His international footballing honors include winning the Nehru Cup, LG Cup, SAFF Championship three times and the AFC Challenge CUP. He is also India’s second most Capped player, with 82 international caps to his name. He is also India’s second youngest international goal scorer . He scored his first goal against Uzbekistan in 1995 Nehru cup at the age of 18 years 90 days.
Bhaichung Bhutia was not only good at football,but also represented his school at basketball,badminton and athletics.In his early life he played at Gangtok based Boys Club managed by his uncle Karma Bhutia.He had played for various other school teams and clubs and brought attention to himself in the 1992 subroto Cup where he received the “Best Player Award”
Bhutia’s Talent was spotted by former Indian goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly ,who helped him move West Bengal where Bhutia played most of his carrier innings.
Bhaichung Bhutia made his club professional debut in 1993 for Calcutta-based East Bengal where he made nine appearances, scoring 4 goals in the league.
His debut for the club marked the beginning of a career that mostly wandered from Mohun Bagan and back to East Bengal.
Bhutia made his international debut on 10 March 1995 against Thailand in the Nehru Cup. He was just 19 years of age. In the same tournament, Bhutia scored a goal against Uzbekistan to become the youngest ever Indian goalscorer at 19 years of age.
Bhutia made his debut for the national team at just 19 years of age, he showed some bright signs of helping Indian football rise. He went on to play some superb football for both club and country, and became one of India’s best ever players.
Bhutia scored just one goal in his debut tournament, and scored his second in the same tournament two years later against Bangladesh in the finals. In the 2002 LG Cup, Bhutia managed a brace against Vietnam, helping India to a 3-2 win.
Bhutia was made captain of the team for 2005 SAFF Championship. India won the championship again, with Bangladesh again reaching the finals and losing to India 2-0.
Bhutia scored one of the goals and was a part of the two goals he scored in the tournament. In the 2008 edition of the tournament, Bhutia scored just one goal, and helped India reach the finals where they lost to Maldives 1-0.
Bhaichung won the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup and was selected as the most valuable player of the tournament with three goals. Bhutia’s 100th cap came in 2009, in the Nehru Cup. He was the first player to reach the milestone. He became the Player of the Tournament in spite of missing out on the final.
Bhutia has made a total of 104 appearances for the national side and scored 40 goals in all competitions.
Bhaichung Bhatia played his last international football in 2011 .This was a fairwell match held for him in january 2011 against Bayern Munich.
He played his last Club Match at United Sikkim in 2015,which marked the end of his glorious carrier.
At present Bhaichung Bhatia manages a managerial venture at Sikkim and has founded the Bhaichung Bhutia Soccer School to help nurture young talent.
During this tough time of Lockdown Bhaichung Bhutia has offered his recidence to the migrant workers who were left stranded in Sikkim after the announcement of Lockdown. He has also offered shelter to the migrants workers of Bihar and West Bengal at his new building in Lumsey, Tadong in Gangtok.
This National Hero is an inspiration to every Indian,he proves that success is just one part of lives journey and there are many other parts still left to be played in life.
He believes that now is the time for him to give back to the society by placing a helping hand to everyone in need.
I salute the commitment of this Football Legend of India.
Stay Tuned for more Success stories………….
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