There was a flurry of emotions in Bhaichung Bhutia's hometown in Sikkim on Wednesday as the longest serving captain of India's football team hung up his boots. (Also see: Bhutia's journey to greatness)
Since his childhood, Bhaichung's family, especially his uncle Karma Bhutia, were very supportive of his football ambitions. However, while Karma accompanied his nephew for most games throughout his illustrious career, he chose not to do so for the final farewell. (Also Read: Why Indian football should thank Bhaichung Bhutia)
Speaking from Sikkim, Karma told MiD DAY: "It's a very emotional moment for all of us. Personally, I would have liked to see him retire after playing an international match.
"However, his decision to quit has come at the right time. Also, he has been the longest serving captain, and playing for the country is a very demanding job." Karma was glad to learn that Baichung would dedicate the rest of his career to his club, United Sikkim SC.
"I have followed Bhaichung's career thoroughly, and was witness to his first competitive match in Kolkata. I am glad that now he will be able to concentrate on his club football. It's sad that he is retiring, but we welcome it nevertheless," said Karma.