On Wednesday, former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia becomes the first footballer from India to be inducted into the AFC’s Hall of the fame.
The AFC’s general secretary,Dato Alex Soosay wrote a letter to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) saying, “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. 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.”
The AFC is organizing the award ceremony for the first time to celebrate its 60th anniversary and Baichung is the lone Indian footballer who is included in the list for this prestigious honour. Apart from Baichung, nine other legendary Players from Asia are also going to be honoured during this event.
Baichung praised the AFC for the honour telling, “It’s a great honour for me. I need to thank AFC for finding me competent enough. I also need to thank AIFF for their continuous support.”
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of all my team-mates, coaches and the clubs I have represented. A special thanks to all my fans. This award is more for you than mine.” he also replied.
Celebrating the decision, AIFF president Praful Patel 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.”
Baichung has played 107 matches for India and scored 42 goals.