Vijayan to Bhaichung Bhutia: Take defeat in AIFF presidential election in “sportsmanship spirit”


Indian football legend I. M. Vijayan on Friday advised his one-time strike partner Bhaichung Bhutia to take the defeat in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) presidential polls in “sportsmanship spirit”.

Former captain Bhutia, a junior contemporary of Vijayan, lost the election for the AIFF president’s post by a big margin of 33-1 to former goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey.

“He (Bhutia) should take it in sportsmanship spirit. Win or loss happens in life. In the football field also we won a lot of matches and lost a lot also. If you take win or loss in sportsmanship spirit, everything will be fine,” Vijayan told PTI.

“I had spoken to Bhaichung earlier but have not spoken to him after the election. I will speak to him when we meet,” said the 53-year-old Vijayan, one of the greatest footballers India has produced.

He and Bhutia formed a lethal strike partner for the Indian team in the late nineties and early 2000s.

Vijayan said for him it’s the same if either of Chaubey and Bhutia becomes AIFF president.

“Kalyan is also a footballer. For us (players) anyone of Kalyan or Bhaichung would have been all right as both are former footballers. Kalyan has got a lot of support (from the electoral college) and so he won. It’s good.

“For us, for the first time, I, Shabbir Ali and Climax Lawrence, we were in the technical committee earlier, now we can take part in the executive committee and we have voting rights. So it gave us energy.” The four most capped India players among men and two among women was to co-opted as executive committee members. Bhutia has said that he would want to be in the executive committee.

Vijayan, Shabbir Ali and Climax Lawrence are the other three male former players co-opted in the executive committee while Tababi Devi and Pinky Magar are the two from among the females.

The tenure of co-opted members is only for one term and another set of former players will take their place after elections in four years’ time.

“Kalyan knows football and he will bring (his ideas) and we will sit from tomorrow. It is good for players that a footballer is heading the federation,” Vijayan signed off.



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