|Full Name||Bhaichung Bhutia|
|Date of Birth||December 15, 1976|
|Birth Place||Tinkitam, Sikkim, India|
|Height||1.73m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Debut||March 10, 1995|
Bhaichung Bhutia is an Indian former professional footballer who played as a forward for the India national team and is best known for his time at clubs like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Bhutia is considered the torchbearer of Indian football in the international arena and is nicknamed the “Sikkimese Sniper” because of his shooting skills in football. He has also captained the national side and currently plays the role of manager at the Sikkim state football club.
Bhutia was born on 15 December 1976 in Tinkitam, Sikkim. Both of his parents were farmers in Sikkim and were originally not keen on Bhutia's interest in sports. His father died in his childhood but after encouragement from his uncle, Karma Bhutia, he started his education at St. Xaviers School, Pakyong, East Sikkim.
He won a football scholarship from SAI to attend the Tashi Namgyal Academy in Gangtok at the age of nine. He went on to play for several schools and local clubs in his home state of Sikkim, including the Gangtok-based Boys Club. His impressive performances at the 1992 Subroto Cup brought him to the notice of the football establishment.
His talent was spotted by former Indian goalkeeper Bhaskar Ganguly and helped Bhutia move to West Bengal where he would play most of his career.
Bhaichung Bhutia made his club professional debut in 1993 for Calcutta-based East Bengal where he would make nine appearances, scoring 4 goals in the league. His debut for the club would mark the beginning of a career that mostly wandered from Mohun Bagan and back to East Bengal.
He then moved to East Bengal, one of the most successful clubs in Indian football history. He played for East Bengal for several seasons and helped the team win several trophies, including the National Football League, the Federation Cup, and the ASEAN Club Championship.
In 1999, Bhutia became the first ever Indian player to sign a professional contract in Europe when he signed for Manchester-based side Bury, where he would spend 3 seasons. He made 37 appearances for them in the league and managed to score only 3 goals. After the failure in Europe, Bhutia decided it was best for him to return to India, once again to East Bengal.
In Malaysia, Bhutia played for Perak FA on loan from Mohun Bagan, and then played for Selangor MK Land. He scored a total of 5 goals in 13 appearances for both sides. In his split career at East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, Bhutia scored 52 goals from 97 games and 25 goals from 56 games respectively.
In 2012, Bhutia signed for United Sikkim, where he would make only 3 appearances owing to injuries. He was made interim manager of the team in the same year, which marked Bhutia’s managerial debut. Bhutia then played his last club match at United Sikkim in 2015, which marked the end of his glorious career.
In his club career, he has scored over 100 league goals in 226 appearances.
Bhutia made his debut for the Indian national team in 1995 against Thailand. He soon became a regular member of the team and was named captain in 1999. He led the team to several victories and was instrumental in India's triumphs in the South Asian Football Federation Cup in 1997 and 2005.
One of Bhutia's most memorable moments for the Indian national team came in 2008 when he scored the winning goal against Myanmar in the AFC Challenge Cup final. The victory secured India's place in the 2011 Asian Cup for the first time in 27 years.
Bhutia also represented India in the 2002 Asian Games and the 2010 Asian Cup. He retired from international football in 2011, having played in 104 matches and scored 42 goals.
In 1999, Bhutia became the first Indian footballer to play abroad when he joined Bury FC, a club in the English Football League. Bhutia is also the only Indian footballer to have played in the English professional leagues.
Bhutia holds the record for the most number of goals scored in the National Football League (now known as the I-League), with 89 goals.
|East Bengal||ASEAN Club Championship: 2003|
|National Football League: 2003–04|
|Federation Cup: 2009–10, 2010|
|Indian Super Cup: 2011|
|Calcutta Football League: 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011|
|IFA Shield: 1994, 1995, 1997|
|Wai Wai Cup: 1993|
|San Miguel International Cup: 2004|
|Mohun Bagan||Calcutta Football League: 2007, 2008, 2009|
|IFA Shield: 2003|
|Federation Cup: 2006, 2008|
|Bengal||Santosh Trophy: 1995, 1998–99|
|India||AFC Challenge Cup: 2008|
|SAFF Championship: 1997, 1999, 2005|
|Nehru Cup: 2007, 2009|
|South Asian Games Gold medal: 1995|
|India U23||LG Cup: 2002|
|Individual||AIFF Player of the Year: 1995, 2008|
|Arjuna Award: 1998|
|Padma Shri: 2008|
|AFC Challenge Cup Most Valuable Player: 2008|
|Banga Bhushan: 2014|
|Asian Football Hall of Fame: 2014|
|IFFHS 48 Football Legend Players: 2016|
In addition to his football career, Bhutia is also involved in various philanthropic activities. He is the founder of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools, which aims to promote football in India and provide opportunities for young players to develop their skills. Bhutia has also been associated with various charitable organizations and has been actively involved in promoting sports and education in underprivileged communities. He currently manages the Sikkim state football team.
As of 2023, his net worth is estimated to be around $2 million.
Bhaichung Bhutia was born into a Nepali-speaking family in Tinkitam, a small village in Sikkim, India. His parents are Dwajendra Bhutia and Sangay Bhutia. He has four siblings, two elder brothers, and two younger sisters.
Bhaichung Bhutia was married to Madhuri Tipnis, who is a sports anchor and journalist. They got married in 2004 and divorced in 2015. They also have a son named Ugen Bhutia.
Bhutia now owns a charming homestay in Tinkitam, South Sikkim. It has three bedrooms with all modern amenities and is situated right next to nature.
Bhutia held the record of being the youngest international goal scorer for India at 18 years and 90 days until it was beaten by Jerry Ziesanga. He also became the first Indian professional footballer to play for an English club when he joined Bury in 1999. He is often nicknamed the Sikkimese Sniper because of his shooting skills in football.
He retired from professional football in 2015.
He played for Bury Football Club for 3 years from 1999-2002.
He scored 26 goals in 80 appearances for India.
He won 33 trophies for club and country.