Bhaichung Bhutia, the outstanding striker of the Indian team, has been chosen as the `player of the year' (2008) by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Speaking on this, an elated Bhutia said, “I feel honoured, I feel humbled.”
“It was great leading India to the AFC Challenge Cup title. Overall it has been a very productive year,” Bhutia said.
The India and Mohun Bagan skipper first received this award in 1995. On Tuesday, Bhutia became the second player after IM Vijayan to win this more than once. Last year, the award was won by Sunil Chhetri.
Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa described Bhutia as the “greatest Indian footballer of the century”.
Leading from the front, Bhutia led India to win the AFC Challenge Cup ’08 and thus qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar. Bhutia also was named as the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament Award.
Earlier this year, the Indian skipper was also rewarded with the Padma Shri, which stands fourth in the civilian awards, bestowed by the Government of India.