Legendary Footballer Bhaichung Bhutia on Friday filed his nomination for the President’s post in the upcoming All India Football Federation (AIFF) elections even as former player Kalyan Chaubey has emerged as the front runner in the race for the top post. Former captain Bhutia was proposed by his onetime national teammate Deepak Mondal and seconded by Madhu Kumari. Kumari is part of the electoral college as an ’eminent’ player.
Bhaichung Bhutia 45, is considered one of the country’s greatest footballers. The charismatic striker was the first Indian footballer to have played more than 100 matches for India.
He retired from international football a few months after playing in the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar, having made his debut in 1995.
He had played for top Indian clubs like JCT, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan during an illustrious career, besides also spending a few seasons at English side FC Bury (1999 to 2002).
“I have filed my nominations as representative of eminent players. In the wake of the SC decision to allow players I hope the players can have a chance to serve Indian football. We want to show we can be good not only as players but also as administrators,” Bhaichung Bhutia said.
Football Delhi President Shaji Prabhakaran has also filed the nomination papers for President’s post.
Also filing the nominations are former player Eugeneson Lyngdoh, through the Meghalaya football association, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s brother Ajit Banerjee.
Lyngdoh is currently serving as an MLA in the Meghalaya legislative assembly.
The deadline for filing nominations ends on Friday.
Kalyan Chaubey, a former India goalkeeper, who has played for both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, like his illustrious contemporary Bhutia, appeared to be ahead in the race for the top post.
Kalyan Chaubey is a member of the ruling BJP but what could work in his favour is that his name has been proposed by the Gujarat FA and seconded by the Arunachal Pradesh football association.