Former India Players Want Ex-captain Bhaichung Bhutia to Contest for AIFF President’s Post

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With half of the electoral college for the upcoming elections of All India Football Federation (AIFF) made up of former players, some of the ex-India international players feel that the legendary Bhaichung Bhutia should contest the polls for the post of president.

The Supreme Court, after a hearing on Wednesday, had approved the time line prepared by the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which is currently running the sport in the country, to hold elections on August 28 with the poll process to start on August 13.

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The top court had said that the electoral college for the executive committee of the AIFF would have representatives from 36 state associations and 36 representatives of eminent football players, 24 male and 12 female.

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The players should have played at least one international match representing India and retired from international tournaments two years prior to the date of notification of the elections.

Former India captain Bruno Coutinho said it would be good for the country’s football fraternity if Bhutia contests the election for AIFF president.

“If a player of the status of Bhaichung is nominated for the post of president of the AIFF, it will be a good thing for the footballers in the country,” Coutinho told PTI from Goa.

“It is up to Bhaichung if he wants to fight elections for the president’s post, but it is my view that if a former player like Bhaichung becomes president of AIFF, it will be good for the sport in the country and for the players.”

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Former India midfielder Renedy Singh also feels that Bhaichung should fight for the president’s post of AIFF.

“Giving a big representation of the former players is a welcome decision and I feel the former players will back Bhaichung to stand for the president’s post. It will be a good move for the interests of the players and for football in the country.

Known as the ‘Sikkimese Sniper’ for his goal-scoring prowess, former captain Bhaichung, 45, is considered one of the country’s greatest footballers. The charismatic striker was the first Indian footballer to have played more than 100 matches for India.

He retired from international football a few months after playing in the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar, having made his debut in 1995. He had played for top Indian clubs like JCT, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan during an illustrious career, besides also spending a few seasons at English side FC Bury (1999 to 2002).

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