Legendary Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia has expressed his desire to play one last match for East Bengal in their centenary year.
The former India captain began his professional career at East Bengal in 1993. He went on to become one of the most successful players in the history of the club as well as Indian football.
The Red and Golds will confer the ‘Identifying and Nurturing the Icon’ award to Bhutia at their centenary year celebration.
Speaking about his early days at East Bengal, Bhutia said, “SBI had arranged a football camp in Sikkim in 1993 and club legends Surajit Sengupta and Bhaskar Ganguly spotted me from that camp. It was difficult for me to leave my hometown at such a young age but the officials and other former players never let me feel homesick.
“My first coach in 1993 was Shyamal Ghosh. After that, I played under several great coaches like Syed Naimuddin and PK Banerjee. I thank them all.
“Not many clubs in the world have existed for 100 years. East Bengal’s contribution to Indian football in the last 100 years is second to none. I have never seen a more passionate bunch of fans than East Bengal supporters. It is for these fans that Indian football is surviving.”
Quess East Bengal FC’s board member and senior club official Debabrata Sarkar said, “Bhaichung told me that he wants to play for East Bengal for one last time before permanently retiring. If the coach (Alejandro Menendez) wants then he will play the first five minutes of the very first match of the season.