‘Chhetri trial should have been handled better’

A peep into Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s career would unfold the names of three overseas clubs — Aston Villa,Fulham....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 10, 2009 2:00 am

A peep into Indian football captain Bhaichung Bhutia’s career would unfold the names of three overseas clubs — Aston Villa,Fulham (where he had trials) and Bury FC,for whom he played between 1999 and 2002. And while those three years were fruitful for the Indian skipper,Bhutia is hardly amused by Sunil Chhetri’s hasty trip to Coventry City.

“The whole situation could have been handled in a better way by his (Chhetri’s) agent and the club. He was called in the middle of the season. Out of the six days he was there,Coventry (City) played two matches and had a day off. He should’ve been given more time. They could have called him during the summer,” Bhutia said.

There’s been a lot of clamour over the junior level tournaments in collaboration with English clubs,but Bhutia was guarded against the rapid increase of such joint ventures in South Asia.

“Manchester United coming to Malaysia didn’t help their (Malaysia’s) football in any way. United just earned a lot of Malaysian revenue and went back. These clubs are professional in every way… even in marketing,” said Bhutia.

Hard to apply

Speaking of the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) newly-implemented rule of four foreigners having to include at least one player of Asian origin,he said that while the rule was put in place to raise the competitive level among Asian countries,it was hard to apply it in India.

“For starters,clubs here should rather play an Indian player instead of a foreigner of Asian origin. For example,Malaysia had increased the quota to five foreigners in their league. That didn’t work out,so now they’ve made it a completely domestic league. Indian football isn’t exactly a appealing prospect for other Asian countries. Clubs here might be keen on including them,but will top Asian clubs want players from India?”

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