Bhutia bats for Eugeneson as MFA chief

SHILLONG, May 18: Former India football captain, Bhaichung Bhutia said that former Indian footballer, Eugeneson Lyngdoh should be given an opportunity to lead the Meghalaya Football Association (MFA).
“It is a good thing that we have lot of young people into various sports association. It is time for people like my friend Eugeneson Lyngdoh take charge of the MFA and become a president,” Bhutia said while speaking to reporters on the sideline of an event in Shillong.
He observed that the present president of MFA, M Larsing Sawyan has contributed towards development of football in the State.
The former India football captain however feels that he (Sawyan) needs to move on and pave the way for Lyngdoh to become the president of the MFA.
“It will be good if Lyngdoh is given an opportunity to implement his vision and programmes for development of football in Meghalaya.
Personally, I believe that in order to advance football, we need to have more athletes and sportspersons in the sports association.
Bhutia added that India’s reputation as a footballing nation is still developing.
He claims that the Asia Cup, which is slated to take place in January 2024, will be the biggest test for the Indian football squad.
“If we perform well in the Asia Cup that will really put us to the test. Being in the top 10 in Asia is the first obstacle. We are not now among the top ten. We shall have the SAFF championship in a few days, He added that if India wants to compete in the world cup, a tonne of effort in required.
“But in order to get there, we must put in a lot more effort from the beginning. We need a lot of talented players, and we need them young. It will be extremely challenging to develop players who will represent India at the highest level and achieve results if we lack that,” according to Bhutia.
He suggested that there should be tournaments at the district and state levels because the country now lacks organisation at the grassroots level.
“We need to do a lot of work at the grassroots level and there is a need to support the kids in the age group of 8 to 15 years. Otherwise we will lose out on a lot of good talents,” he said.
Bhutia also said that the ISL and I-League have assured football players can now earn good salaries and live a decent lifestyle.
He recalled that great players of the past like Prasanta Chakraborty and Bhaskar Ganguly and even former players of Meghalaya did not get jobs and had to struggle for their livelihood.
“Now the situation is much better,” he said.
The former India football captain said that the new AIFF body needs to do a lot of work and needs to get their structure right.
“I just learnt that the new body had announced its vision 2047. Even earlier presidents had aims and visions but there was no execution. The biggest challenge of the new body is to get their structure right,” Bhutia said.

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