Former Indian football team captain Baichung Bhutia has been inducted to the Asian Football Confederation‘s (AFC) Hall of Fame, the continent’s football governing body confirmed on Wednesday. He is the only Indian representative in the list of inductees.
“It is my pleasure to announce that India’s legendary player Baichung Bhutia has been selected to be honoured as an inductee to the AFC’s Hall of Fame,” Dato Alex Soosay, general secretary of AFC, wrote in a letter to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Wednesday.
Besides Bhaichung, nine other legendary Players from Asia would also be honoured. The Awards are being instituted for the first time and Bhaichung is the lone Indian in the glittering list.
Bhaichung Bhutia thanked AFC for selecting him into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s a great honour for me. I need to thank AFC for finding me competent enough. I also need to thank All India Football Federation for their continous support.”
“Obviously it won’t have ever been possible without the support of all my teammates whom I have played along with and also the Coaches for their guidance and Clubs I have represented. A special thanks for all my fans for standing beside me. This Award more for you than mine,” he maintained.
In his congratulatory message, Mr. Praful Patel, President of AIFF said: “Bhaichung has been the flag bearer of Indian Football in over 100 International matches. My heartiest congratulations to him! Post retirement, he has been closely associated with AIFF and we expect to work closely for the development of the sport in the Country.”
“It’s a huge honour for Indian Football. Being an inductee into AFC’s Hall of Fame is recognition of all his hard work and commitment. We at AIFF are very proud of his achievements and look forward for his involvement as we move ahead.” said AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das.