Former Indian national team captain Baichung Bhutia has been inducted to the AFC Hall of Fame, a letter from Dato Alex Soosay (General Secretary, Asian Football Confederation) to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) confirmed.
“The AFC is celebrating its 60th Anniversary in Philippines on November 30 this year where a joint event will take place to celebrate the Anniversary as well as reward Asia’s finest at the AFC Annual Awards,” the letter read.
Dato Alex Soosay further wrote: “It is my pleasure to announce that India’s legendary player Mr. Baichung Bhutia has been selected to be honoured as an inductee to the AFC”s Hall of Fame.”
Besides Baichung, nine other legendary players from Asia would also be honoured. The Awards are being instituted for the first time and Baichung is the lone Indian in the glittering list.
In his congratulatory message, Praful Patel (President, AIFF) said: “Baichung 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.”
Congratulating Baichung, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das stated: “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.”
Baichung 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.
(Report courtesy AIFF Media)