New Delhi: He has won the Santosh trophy four times playing for West Bengal but the latest edition will see Baichung Bhutia represent his native state of Sikkim for the first time.Baichung is still the biggest star in Indian football was evident when he played against Pondicherry and even when he played a friendly game against a local Delhi club on Tuesday. A small crowd gathered at the central secretariat grounds in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon. But it was not the Sikkim State team that the crowd had come to see but rather their star player Baichung Bhutia.Domicile ruleBaichung is playing for Sikkim for the first time thanks to a new domicile rule in the Santosh trophy.And though Baichung played a small part in Sikkim's opening game win over Pondicherry, he felt that his team still needed a lot more practice before their quarter-final which starts on October 21."I am excited to play. The entire team wants to do well and has the energy. It is nice to see the boys go all out and try to show their game," said Baichung.Friendly gamesBaichung himself took the initiative to organise a few friendly games for Sikkim. This is a game against Simla Young's who play in the Delhi Soccer League. The club is managed by a football enthusiast Tushar Dev who was more than happy to oblige India's captain."It is a valuable experience to my team and my team is comprised of 16-year-old players like Kulbhushan and Anjum and they have played very well," said Tushar Dev, Manager, Simla Youngs Football Club.On the field Baichung's opponents did not seem overawed but after the match got over it was different. "Playing with Baichung was great, he is after all the Indian Captain. This is the first time I am playing with him and you saw how he scored those two goals with such perfect finishing. His two-touch finishing is amazing. I have never seen anything like this," said Manoj Bhandari, Simla Youngs Football Club.Defending the titleBaichung missed the last six weeks of football due to an injury and that forced him to miss some crucial world cup qualifiers for India. But he made his return on Wednesday in a practice match for his home state of Sikkim where he announced his return. He will be hoping to carry that form into the new National Football League season where East Bengal will be hoping to defend their title once again.
Topics : Football