New Delhi: Seemingly frustrated with a recurring calf muscle injury, veteran India striker Bhaichung Bhutia will take a call on whether to extend his international career or hang up his boots in the next couple of days.
The injury, which forced Bhutia to miss all the matches in the Asian Cup in January, barring the last 15 minutes of the final game against South Korea now threatens to delay his bid to make a comeback to the national team for the three-match tour of England next month.
"I am working hard but I will know in the next 2-3 days," he said when asked about the England tour and his future.
Bhutia had recovered but suffered the injury a few days back while practising for his club Sikkim United.
Not just his international career, Bhutia might just take a decision on his club career as well. "I will know everything in the next 2-3 days," he reiterated.
Even if he makes the trip to the UK, Bhutia said he will return after playing in the first match, against Pakistan on September 3, as he wants to make himself available for his club Sikkim United, who will be competing in the Federation Cup qualifiers in the second week.
"I will come by September 9, probably after the first two matches.
The Indian team are scheduled to play against Pakistan at Pride Park Ground in Derby, followed by matches against England U-23 and Scotland U-21 sides.
While saying that it's upto the All India Football Federation of India (AIFF) to decide whether to hire an Indian or a foreigner for the national team coach's post, 35-year-old Bhutia insisted current coach Armando Colaco should be given enough time to bring in a system.
"You cannot have someone for two or four months. Most of our boys come from the same system but still one needs time," he said here today.
Armando was appointed on an interim basis in May. Apart from his commitment to Sikkim United, what is keeping Bhutia busy these days is his project - Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools (BBFS) - which started operations in December last year and has over 250 childrens enrolled for their regular programmes across four centres in the NCR.
"Life has been hectic and demanding, but I am really enjoying," he said.
BBFS was started in association with Portuguese academy Football By Carlos Queiroz (FBCQ).
"60 per cent kids are from the NGOs. It's like steps -the schools, the academy and then the clubs. One of the boys, Bikram Gill, has made it to the Sikkim United club," Bhutia said at the sidelines of a launch of the BBFS First Touch 2011-12 Powered by Gatorade, a one-of-its-kind programme, aimed at football promotion, scouting talent and player development.
The first phase of the project include 100 free football workshops under experienced coaches from FBCQ, Portugal. That will be followed by an invitational tournament featuring select school teams and talented individuals. 10 selected students will then receive three-month scholarships to BBFS and the best five will be sent to Portugal for a training camp and trials at Portuguese clubs.