Bhaichung Bhutia, also known as the “Sikkimese Sharpshooter”, is a former Indian national football team player and is considered the epitome of the rise of Indian football. Former Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who began his 16-year international career, was one of the best players ever produced in the country and an inspiring leader of men. Making his international debut at just 19 years old, Bhaichung Bhutia has shown clear signs of helping Indian football flourish.
He impressed everyone, including former Indian footballer Bhaskar Ganguly, and wore the famous Bengal Jersey before graduation. Baichung Bhutia put his heart and soul into football and was awarded a scholarship from the Indian Sports Ministry at 9 to study at Tashi Namgyal College in Gangtok.
Baichung Bhutia returned to India to open his “Baichung Bhutia Soccer School” in New Delhi to mentor young talents and represent India on the international football stage. Bhaichung Bhutia, a former manager at United Sikkim, also runs a football school that provides world-class football coaches through 49 training centres in 18 cities across the country, with over 30% of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. At the 1992 Subroto Cup, Baichung Bhutia won the best player award and recognised former India goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly. He helped Bhutia hone his skills and paved his way to East Bengal FC in Kolkata level the road.
Bhaichung Bhutia then left for Malaysia, but after an unsuccessful short spell, he returned and signed with Mohun Bagan in 2006, where he scored 19 goals and was named “Indian Player of the Year” for the second time. With the award as an Indian player, Bhutia became the second footballer to win it more than once. He was selected for his international debut in the Nehru Cup.
Baichung Bhutia is regarded as the torchbearer of Indian football on the international stage. He is often referred to as the Sikkimese sniper for his football shooting skills. Three-time Indian Player of the Year M. M. Vijayan called Bhutia “God’s gift to an Indian”. Bhaichung Bhutia has an older brother named Chewang Bhutia. Born on December 15, 1976, in a village in Sikkim to two farmers, Baichung Bhutia showed a keen interest in sports, including football, athletics, badminton and basketball, from a young age.
Bhaichung Bhutia is the only Indian player to be inducted into the Asian Football Hall of Fame. Bhutia sees the future of Indian football as very bright but still believes that the life of a football player in the country is minimal. In 2008, Baichung Bhutia was called to carry the Olympic flame in India, but he refused to accept the torch to support the Tibetan independence movement. Bhaichung was arguably the only footballer to carve his niche with his talent and inspiring leadership, making him an iconic figure in Indian football.
Bhaichung pioneered the game in the country as he was the first Indian in the post-independence era to do his own thing in Europe when he played for Bury FC, Second Division England, from 1999 to 2002. Baichung Bhutia has also had many opportunities to play for foreign football teams, but his heart has always promoted football in India. Bhaichung Bhutia also holds the record for the most goals scored in a single match in India’s national football circuit with five goals.