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Nickname: Tinkitam Express
Date of Birth: 15-Dec-1976
Squad Number: 15
Glory days 1995-2 The big picture Scored 43 goals in 105 appearances Diustinctions The first Indian to play professional soccer in Europe: for the English club Bury in 1999.
Best performances Playing for both of Bengal’s celebrated East Bengal and Mohun Bagan in Indian club soccer.
United Sikkim is Bhutia’s club based in his native Sikkim. Under his stewardship is has risen to the top rung of India’s football.
Later positions include Chairman of the technical committee of the All India Football Federation.
The greatest Indian football player ever
Probably the greatest Indian football player, who apart from doing his national country proud has had a stint with the English Club Bury F.C.
Baichung Bhutia is an Indian footballer who plays as a striker. Bhutia is considered to be the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena. He is often nicknamed the Sikkimese Sniper because of his shooting skills in football.Three-time Indian Player of the Year he. M. Vijayan described Bhutia as "God's gift to Indian football".
Bhutia has had four spells at I-League football team East Bengal Club, the club where he started his career. When he signed up to play for the English club Bury in 1999, he became the first Indian footballer to play professional football in Europe. Afterwards he had a short loan spell at the Malaysian football club Perak FA.
As well as this he has played for JCT Mills, which won the league once during his tenure; and Mohun Bagan, Off the field, Bhutia is known for winning the reality television programme halak Dikhhla Jaa, which caused much controversy with his then-club Mohun Bagan, and for being the first Indian athlete to boycott the Olympic torch relay in support of the Tibetan independence movement.
Bhutia has also won many awards, such as the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri.
A Conversation With: Soccer Player Bhaichung Bhutia
By SAMBUDDHA MITRA MUSTAFI The New York Times April 8, 2013
On Bhutia's journey with United Sikkim. How it came about
he was born and brought up in Sikkim, and they have a big following for soccer there – it is the only game that’s played. Since the I-League [India's professional soccer league] started in 2007, small tournaments like the Governor’s Gold Cup here in Sikkim started dying out. So big teams and players stopped coming here, and people were deprived from watching them. The only way to bring top soccer to Sikkim was to have a club from here competing in the I-League. It was not easy to get funds for the club because they hardly have any industries or corporates based out of here. But he got some investors from Dubai to fund the club, and that is how it started.
On the difficulty in convincing players, both domestic and foreign, to play for his (Bhutia's) club? Were they happy being in Sikkim?
When they started in second division, it was a challenge to bring good players to a small place like Sikkim. But Bhutia had played for India and knew the players, so he convinced them to sign for United Sikkim.
The foreigners are adjusting pretty well in Sikkim. The biggest problem they faced was that every time they went out of Sikkim, they had to wait for one hour at Rangpo [a town on the state border] for their permit to get sorted. Especially for the Nigerian players it’s been tough But apart from this they are very happy with Sikkim. It’s clean and green, so they enjoy it.
Sambuddha Mitra Mustafi is an independent journalist. Indpaedia readers can follow him on Twitter at @some_buddha.
Last Game: 12 May 2013
Bhaichung Bhutia – Current Season Statistics
League Team Games Goals Assists YC RC
Federation Cup United Sikkim F.C. 0 0 0 0 0
I-League United Sikkim F.C. 3 0 0 2 1
Offer to take over Pailan Arrows
From Goal Goal magazine
Later, Bhaichung Bhutia met Apurba Saha, chairman of the Pailan Group and offered to take over the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) developmental side Pailan Arrows.
Given that the Arrows and the AIFF were involved in a financial tussle with the former accusing the latter of not having paid IN Rs 44 lakhs for the academy in their premises, Bhutia suggested that he is keen to help the club survive in the top division league as it would help the players improve further as a unit.
“What he read was that Pailan Arrows cannot have the team because of finance and they had one more year to go. he said why can’t United Sikkim can take over Pailan Arrows and keep the developmental squad. These boys when they go to different clubs, they may not get to play again. Out of 28 Pailan Arrows players, only three or four would be playing. Rather than that they are okay to take over Pailan Arrows and have the development squad playing as Pailan Sikkim,” he informed Goal.