Baichung Bhutia is Indian football's pride and joy. Unassuming and
friendly, he was born in a small town of Sikkim on the 15th of December
1976 and attended St. Xavier's Primary School there. His parents,
who own farms in Sikkim, were worried at first that Baichung's sporting
interests would harm his studies, but they relented when he got
a football scholarship at the age of nine from the Sports Authority
of India, Gangtok. The Boarding School that Baichung attended in
Gangtok because of the scholarship played a major part in building
his character and in making him a successful footballer.
came into national reckoning by dint of a sterling performance in
the 1992 Subroto Cup school tournament. In 1993, at the age of sixteen,
he joined the Calcutta city giants East Bengal Club. In 1995, Baichung
moved to JCT Mills, Phagwara and helped the team win the National
Football League where he emerged as the leading goal-scorer. In
the same year Baichung made his international debut in the Nehru
1999, Bhutia became the first Indian to play professional football
in England when he joined the English second division side FC Bury.
In 2002, Baichung led the national football team to a rare title
triumph at the LG Cup in Vietnam.
year, under Baichung's inspirational leadership East Bengal became
the first Indian club to win an international title when they clinched
the LG Asean Club Cup football championship held in Jakarta
for: 1987-90 Tashi Namgyal Academy - Sikkim
1990-93 SAI Centre - Gangtok
1993-95 East Bengal Club - Calcutta
1995-97 JCT Mills - Phagwara
1997-99 East Bengal Club - Calcutta
1999-2002 Bury FC (England)
2002-03 Mohun Bagan AC - Calcutta
2003 East Bengal Club - Calcutta
2003 Perak FC (Malaysia) - on loan from August to October
2003 East Bengal Club - Calcutta
Playing Currently for: East Bengal Club - Calcutta
Playing position: Striker
Indian International since 1995
International A matches: 52
International A goals: 35
best player of the 1992 Subroto Cup
youngest goal scorer for India in 1995 (match-winner vs Uzbekistan
at the Nehru Cup)
best player of the Calcutta Super Division 1995
top scorer of the Calcutta Super Division 1995
"1996 Indian Player of the Year"
top scorer of the first National Football League 1996/97
best player of the first National Football League
top scorer of the SAFF Cup 1999
best player of the SAFF Cup 1999
voted "Asian Player of the month" for the month
of May 1999 and October 2002
first Indian player to be transferred to a European professional
received Sikkim State Award 1999
received the Arjuna Award 1999
first Asian-born player to score a goal in the professional
english game (April 15, 2000)
top scorer of the first Asean Club Championship 2003 in Indonesia
Since his early days Baichung's football ambitions have been
promoted by his family.
Baichung Bhutia first came to the forefront at the 1992 Subroto
Cup in New Delhi.
In 1993 Baichung was signed on by Calcutta giants East Bengal,
after his showings in the Subroto Cup and for the National U-16
team in the Asian U-16 Cup Qualifiers.
In 1995 Baichung along with a roast of other indian top stars
went to the Punjabi club JCT Mills in the small town of Phagwara
and had two very successful seasons with them, among other things
winning the first-ever Indian National Football League title, being
also the league's top scorer.
In 1997 Baichung returned to Calcutta and to East Bengal.
By this time Baichung had become one of India's top players and
in the 1998/99 season he was even East Bengal's captain, one of
the youngest ever at 21. In this time his desire to play professionally
in Europe had grown but it was still a dream.
In March 1999 Baichung had an unsuccessful trial with english
Premiership club Aston Villa. This was later followed up by a three
month rigorous training stint in Sweden, with AIK Solna. In summer
1999 Baichung had unsuccessul trials at 1.Division clubs Fulham
FC and West Bromwich Albion, before going for a trial at 2.Division
club Bury FC. Baichung signed a three year contract with Bury FC
and after the havoc of getting the UK work permit, Baichung had
his debut in early October 1999 against Cardiff City in a second
Division League match.
In his second match to start for Bury FC on April 15, 2000,
Baichung became the first Asian-born player to score a goal in the
english professional game.
In 2002 Baichung returned to India after three years with
english side Bury FC. He signed a new contract with NFL champions
Mohun Bagan AC from Calcutta.
In 2003 Baichung signed for his former club and city-rivals
East Bengal after a year full of injuries at Mohun Bagan.
had offers to play in the North American "Major League Soccer",
in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Belgium and Greece
Facts About Baichung:
Indian to play professional football in England; led the national
football team to title triumph at the LG Cup in Vietnam in
2002; led East Bengal club to LG Asean Club Cup football championship
victory in Jakarta in 2003