September 18, 2021

Bhaichung Bhutia: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s Norwegian gamble paid off

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The former footballer has urged Indian players to seek opportunities abroad…

Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia believes Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made the right decision in his career when he chose to go abroad to play for FC Stabaek in Norway. 

Bhutia, who played for the likes for England‘s FC Bury and Malaysia’s Perak during his glorious playing career, opined that Indian players need to take up the challenge of playing in a foreign country.

During a live chat on Instagram on Friday. he said. “It (playing abroad) taught me a lot. It gives you an idea about what professional football and business in football are. It made me aware of how I need to take care of myself. 

“Gurpreet (Sandhu) is one of the biggest examples. There is a sacrifice you have to make. I had spoken to Gurpreet. Once you reach a certain age, it is important to break into a bigger club with a better salary. That’s how he came back to Bengaluru. It was a good gamble that Gurpreet took. A lot of the players have to take that.”

With India set to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup next year and the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup, Bhutia lauded the All India Football Football Federation’s (AIFF) efforts to win the bid and believes it will help improve football at the grassroots. 

“I think it is a big step taken by the AIFF. It is important for us to host such age category tournaments. That is when we focus on grassroots. Women’s football, compared to men’s, has been doing well in terms of ranking.”

He further added, “For us, it is a big step and the good thing is that we are not overspending as we did on the boys (U-17). The way it turned out wasn’t the way we planned it. I am expecting a good result from the U-17 women’s team but even if it is not, it is a good start for women’s football in India.”

He also advised the young girls on how to deal with pressure and said that they have to prove themselves every day.

“The best thing about playing football is that you only have to focus on the next game. People don’t remember what happened in your last game. If you scored a hat-trick and think you don’t need to train, you will play badly in the next game and people won’t remember you. Football is the best teacher in life.”