Baichung Bhutia is undoubtedly the famous Indian footballer in recent times. Born on December 15, 1976 in the remote Tinkitam village of Sikkim
, Baichung's story is one of sheer grit and determination against all odds.
At a young age, he won a SAI Scholarship to attend the Tashi Namgyal Academy in Gangtok and played for several school and local clubs in Sikkim. His performance in the 1992 Subroto Cup did wonders to his career. In 1993, he joined Kolkata's East Bengal Club and the rest, as they say, is history. In 1995, he moved to JCT Mills, Phagwara, which won the India National Football League that year. Bhutia emerged as the top scorer in that league. He was named "1996 Indian Player of the Year". In 1999, he went to England and played for Bury F.C. In 2002 he returned to India and after that has played for clubs like Mohun Bagan AC and East Bengal. He played for Perak FC, a Malaysian club, from August to October, 2003. Currently he is with Mohun Bagan AC.
He has won many awards and accolades in his football career. He was the best player of the 1992 Subroto Cup, the youngest goal scorer for India in 1995, best player of the Calcutta Super Division 1995, the top scorer of the Calcutta Super Division 1995, top scorer of the first National Football League 1996-97, best player of the first National Football League, voted "Asian Player of the month" for the months of May 1999 and October 2002 and was the top scorer of the first Asean Club Championship 2003 in Indonesia.
He received the Sikkim State Award 1999 and the Arjuna Award in 1999. The Sikkim government has built a stadium - the Baichung Stadium in Namchi, the district headquarters, in his honour.
Last Updated on : February 3, 2014