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Baichung Bhutia

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Baichung Bhutia was born on 15 December 1976 in Tinkitam, Sikkim. In addition to football, Bhutia also represented his school at badminton, basketball and athletics. He has two older brothers, Chewang and Bom Bom Bhutia, and one younger sister named Cali. His parents, both farmers in Sikkim, were originally not keen on Bhutia's interest in sports. His father died but after encouragement from his uncle, Karma Bhutia, he started his education in St. Xaviers School, Pakyong, East Sikkim, and at the age of nine he won a football scholarship from SAI to attend the Tashi Namgyal Academy in Gangtok.

He went on to play for several school and local clubs in his home state of Sikkim, including the Gangtok-based Boys Club, which was managed by Karma. His performance at the 1992 Subroto Cup, where he won the "Best Player" award, brought him to the notice of the football establishment. Former India goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly spotted his talent and helped him make the transition to Calcutta football.

 

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Career

Bhutia caught the attention of everybody for the first time at the Subroto Cup 1992 held at Delhi, wherein he was bestowed upon the Best Player award. Bhaskar Ganguly, the former goalkeeper of the Indian Football team was especially impressed by Baichungs talent and supported him to move ahead to professional Football. At the age of 16 years, Bhutia joined East Bengal, a reputed Football club from Calcutta (now Kolkata), and further went ahead to join a yet another well known Football club, JCT Mills, Phagwara in the year 1995. The same year, JCT was able to win the National Football League after Bhutia joined them, and scored the maximum number of goals in the League for JCT. Baichung was bestowed upon the Indian Player of the Year 1996 award.

Further, he came back to East Bengal in the year 1997 and led the team in the year 1998-99. In the Semi Final match of the Federation Cup Football 1997 played between between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, Baichung scored a hatrick and led East Bengal win the match by 4-1. Bhutia has been the only Football player ever to score a hatrick in a Football match between the most famous arch rivals of the Indian Football East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. The same year, he earned the recognition of being the Highest Scorer ever in any match of the National Football League. In a match against Mahindra United played on the 9th of December 1997, he scored 5 goals alone for his team JCT Mills.

In the year 1999, Bhutia began playing for an English Football club named Bury F.C., and played over there till the year 2002. Upon his return to India in the year 2002, he played for Mohun Bagan AC for 1 year and then again moved back to his initial club, East Bengal and played for them until he reverted back to Mohun Bagan in the year 2006. In the meantime, he also played for Perak, a Malaysian Football club. Currently he is in a contract with Mohun Bagan, and will playe with them till the year 2010.

 

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Awards

1998:- Arjuna Award for football

2008:- Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India

2014:- Banga Bhushan award

2014:- Asian Football Hall of Fame inductee

2016:- IFFHS 48 Football Legend Players, Phase One inductee

 

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