(Last Updated on : 18/06/2014)
Baichung Bhutia is a footballer of repute in India .He is the present captain of the Indian Football team and plays for Mohun Bagan. Bhutia was born on December 15, 1976. His father's name is Dorji Dorma and his mother's name is Sonam Topden in Tinkitam in Sikkim
. He belongs to the Bhutia community. He is considered as the torchbearer of the Indian football team, his contributions towards the team is remarkable. Three-time Indian Player of the Year I. M. Vijayan described Bhutia as "God's gift to Indian football
". After retiring from international football, on 28 October 2010, he started Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools in Delhi
in partnership with football by Carlos Quieroz and Nike. He also co-owns United Sikkim
one of the football clubs in India
. He has joined the All India Trinamool Congress
and unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha
elections, conducted by the Election Commission of India from the Darjeeling constituency.
Early life of Baichung Bhutia
Baichung Bhutia went to St. Xaviers School Pakyoung, East Sikkim and won the Sports Authority of India
(SAI) Scholarship to attend the Tashi Namgyal Academy in Gangtok
at the age of 9. He was noticed and came to the limelight with his performance at the 1992 Subroto Cup
held in Delhi
. There he won the 'Best Player Award'. Bhaskar Ganguly was impressed with his performance and helped him to make it to the Calcutta football arena.
Football Career of Baichung Bhutia
At the age of sixteen in 1993 he joined the professional East Bengal Club in Kolkata
. In 1995 he joined the JCT Mills, Phagwara and brought the trophy of the India National Football League that year. Being the top scorer in the League he was chosen to play for the Nehru Cup. In 1996 along with many awards he was named as the '1996 Indian Player of the Year'.
He returned to East Bengal in 1997, and became team captain in the 1998-99 seasons. In the Semi Final match of the Federation Cup Football 1997 played between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, Baichung scored a hattrick and led East Bengal win the match by 4-1. That year itself Baichung Bhutia won the award of 'highest scorer' ever in any match of the National Football League. Bhutia has also played at the international level.
International Career for Baichung Bhutia
Baichug Bhutia made his international debut for India against Uzbekistan in the Nehru Cup in 1995 at the age of 19. He also played for SAAF Championship in the years 1997, 2005 and 2008 and won the awards of 'Most Valuable Player' and 'Fair Play Trophy' in 2005. In 1999 he travelled overseas to play for Bury F.C. in Great Manchester, England signing a three-year contract and became the first Indian footballer to play professionally in Europe. Bhutia has also performed in the LG Cup in 2002 in Vietnam and Afro-Asian Cup in 2003. He also signed up to play for Perak, the Malaysian championship club, from August to October of 2003. His commendable performance in the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup against Turkmenistan reserved his position in the upcoming 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Of all the achievements, the greatest achievements for Baichung Bhutia in his entire football career happened when India won the Nehru Cup, 2007, under his captaincy. The Indian team played extremely well throughout the tournament and beat the teams like Syria, Kyrgyzstan, and Cambodia etc. The Nehru Cup of 2009 also proved significant for Bhutia as he earned his 100th cap for India over Kyrgyzstan, becoming the first Indian player to reach this milestone. Apart from winning the Nehru Cup
under his captaincy, Baichung Bhutia has also played for the 'Edu' team in the 'Goal 4 Africa charity match between two all-star international teams in July, 2008.
Baichung Bhutia's Return in Indian Football
In 2002 Bhutia returned to India and played for the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club
for a year before returning again to the East Bengal Club, and won the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Cup 2003. He won the 'Man of the Match' award and was also the top scorer of the Championship with nine goals.
Retirement of Baichung Bhutia
Baichung Bhutia retired from international level football on January 2012. His last outing for India was against the German club named Bayern Munich. Though India lost the match, but he impressed all by his talent. He is now engaged to play for his club United Sikkim Football Club which he founded.
Awards and Honours to Baichung Bhutia
|India National Team
For his commendable performance in the field of football, Bhutia has been bestowed upon the Indian Player of the Year award twice in the years 1995 and 2008. He has also been awarded the Sikkim
State Award and the Arjuna Award
. In the year 2008, he has been honoured with the Padmashree Award
. In the year 2014, he received Banga Bhushan Award, a title instituted by the West Bengal
Personal Life of Baichung Bhutia
Baichung Bhutia married Madhuri Tipnis on December 27, 2004 in his native village of Tinkitam in South Sikkim. The Sikkim government has built a stadium- Baichung Stadium in Namchi
, the district headquarters, in honour of this former captain of Indian Football.