I Have More Experience & Credibility Than Kalyan Chaubey: Bhaichung Bhutia
The AIFF election is to take place in New Delhi on 2 September.
One of Indian football's greatest legends, former skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, is up against many odds as he has thrown his hat into the ring for the biggest administrative position in the sport, that of the president of the AIFF.
In Friday's election, Bhaichung's candidature is opposed by only one person – Kalyan Chaubey, a BJP leader in Bengal, and a former Indian goalkeeper. However, it is Chaubey who is being seen as the front-runner for the post with the backing of politically important state associations like Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh.
Bhaichung though believes he has put in more work in Indian football over the decades to be better qualified for the post.
"I definitely have more experience and credibility compared to my team-mate. Obviously he's a young boy, a good footballer, a junior footballer and I only hope that the state associations don't misguide and take advantage of the situation," he told The Quint.
Known as 'Sikkimese Sniper' during his playing days for his goal-scoring prowess, Bhutia alleged involvement of some Sikkim Krantakari Morcha (SKM) leaders that forced Sikkim Football Association's president, Menla Ethenpa, to not back his candidature for the post.
"I think it is unfortunate (SFA not backing him), because it is important for Sikkim football to grow and we are a part of the family. Sometimes, you have certain individuals who don’t really look into football but their personal interests, which is very unfortunate. But despite them not supporting me, if I become the president, I will help Sikkim football grow," said Bhaichung.
Elections are to be held for the posts of one president, one vice president, one treasurer and 14 executive committee members. Six former players – four male and two female – will be co-opted later as executive committee members with voting rights.
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