Bhaichung Bhutia is a retired Indian footballer of Sikkimese descent who played as a striker. Bhutia is considered to be the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena. He is often nicknamed the Sikkimese Sniper because of his shooting skills in football
Bhaichung’s football education started at Sikkim’s Tashi Namgyal Academy before a stint at SAI Gangtok. He was adjudged the best player in the 1992 Subroto Cup with former India international Bhaskar Ganguly first noticing his exceptional skills.
Was the top scorer of the first ever National Football League (now re-christened as I-League). He scored 14 goals for JCT Mills team and was also was selected Best Player of that Tournament.
In the 1995 Nehru Cup, he became India’s youngest goal scorer at 19 after netting in the 1-0 win over Uzbekistan on his international debut.
In 1999, became the first Indian to play professional football in England. (Bury FC — a Manchester-based League One team).
Bhaichung has also had spells in Malaysia, having played for Perak FA in 2003 and MK Selangor in 2005.
Bhaichung Bhutia has been awarded with the Arjuna Award in 1999 and the Padma Shri in 2008.
He also owns the record for most goals in a single match in the National Football league. He scored 5 goals JCT Mills against Mahindra United (1997).
Under his captaincy, India won the LG Cup in Vietnam in 2002, South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championships thrice, two Nehru Cup titles (in 2007 and 2009) and the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup which assured them a place in the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar.
Sikkim Government honoured him by naming the a stadium in Namchi as Baichung Bhutia stadium.
The former Indian captain started the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools in New Delhi on October 28 2010. It was opened in association with Portuguese academy Football, run by former Man United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz.
He played his farewell match for the India national team on January 10, 2012 against Bayern Munich. The German club presented him a special ‘number 15’ Bayern jersey with the signature of the entire Bayern squad on it.