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Baichung Bhutia wants clubs to release players early for Nehru Cup

Kolkata: Former India captain Baichung Bhutia, on Sunday, slammed the I-League Professional Football Clubs Association’s (ILPFCA) decision to not release the players at least two weeks before the camp for the Nehru Cup.

“Everyone should support India’s cause for betterment of football and if the country wins, everyone, the clubs, the players and even media would be benefited,” owner of the URO United Sikkim told a media conference here.

Bhutia, also one of the members of ILPFCA, said the organisation was formed for betterment of football and hence joining the camp well in time would help players to hone their skill.

“All should also support newly appointed AIFF’s senior coach Wim Koevermans as his experience would surely help Indian football,” Bhutia said indicating two weeks training for Indian players is not sufficient.

The ILPFCA’s President and Salgaocar Secretary Raj Gomes had reportedly said the member clubs would not release their players two weeks before the Nehru Cup tournament, scheduled to begin August 22.

But the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in consultation with Koevermans called 37 players to report on July 27.

“We can not compare ourselves with the players in Germany, Spain and European nations as their two week-time is enough. But for Indians we know that we need more and more training to do well in any international tournament,” Bhutia said.

Bhutia said, “if the clubs take part in very important tournaments like AFC, FIFA or any other international events than in that case the matter is different”.

“I being a player and owner of a club must make some contribution to the football and being part of the national side is the best opportunity one should have for all round development of the game,” he said.

Replying a question Bhutia said, “it would be tough this time to defend the title with a new set of players.” He, however, reposed faith with the new coach saying his vast experience would benefit India.

Bhutia also disclosed that his United Sikkim received a boost this year by roping in Kolkata-based URO Group. He said from now his United Sikkim would be known as Uro United Sikkim, which promoted this season for premier division of I-League.


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