Houghton's appointment changed my mind, says Bhutia

Updated: 24 August 2009 15:22 IST

Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Monday said he would have quit the game two years back had it not been for national coach Bob Houghton.

New Delhi:

Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia on Monday said he would have quit the game two years back had it not been for national coach Bob Houghton.

Bhutia contemplated retirement early in 2006 after his reported falling out with then coach Syed Nayeemuddin but the footballer said he changed his mind after speaking to Houghton and ailing All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi.

Since then, Bhaichung went on to lead India to the Nehru Cup title in 2007 and AFC Challenge last year, which booked the country a berth in the 2011 Asian Cup.

India last appeared in an Asian Cup in 1984.

"I was not enjoying my football (in 2006) because of the prevailing situation at that time. I spoke to Bob Houghton who was taking over as coach. Dasmunshi also wanted me not to retire. So the change in management changed my mind from retiring," said Bhutia, who played his 100th international match on Sunday in Nehru Cup here.

"I am happy that I changed my mind (to retire) and I am playing now," he added.

Talking about his suspension by Mohun Bagan, Bhutia hoped that the AIFF should be firm and quick in taking decision.

"The last six months have been sad and frustrating for me. I don't know what message it is giving to the younger players," the 32-year-old Bhutia said.

"I would say AIFF should start taking quick decisions and be firm. It should put its foot down and say this is the rule. I am not saying that the decision should be in favour of the player but it should be quick.

"My problem has been going on for two months. For me, I am playing for India otherwise I would not have played any football for the two months. This problems happen to many players," he added.

Asked who he thinks is the best player among those he had played with, he named the former India captain and prolific scorer IM Vijayan, known as the 'Black Panther' during his playing days.

"I played with Vijayan for 8-9 years and I think he is the best player. He is the most complete player. In my 14 years of international football and 16-17 years of club football, he (Vijayan) is the player who plays complete football," Bhutia said.

Topics : Football Bayern Munchen
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